Ellery James Roberts has a hard time to escaping his previous life as frontman of WU LYF. The Manchester four-piece blew minds with their debut album Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, before imploding. It was a masterpiece of atmospheric, fist-pumping anthems, but what stood out most was Ellery's voice, a gravelly and passionate growl, a voice that was completely distinctive. Though WU LYF was a collective in essence, Ellery was the public face.

LUH, the collaborative project between Ellery and Ebony Hoorn, was announced in the typically music industry shunning manner that Ellery favours: a bit-torrent file of free songs and a manifesto. In it the duo state that "Lovers are warriors, LUH stands with all those that work for beauty, against the defeated cynicism of dead culture." What all the poetic language disguises is the real manifesto that has always been present in Ellery's work; the need to create pop music on his own terms. In this, LUH is the most perfect of his projects to date.

This aim isn't obvious at first. 'I&I' starts off gently, just twinkling pianos and Ellery's isolated vocal. As the track builds, more and more instrumentation building, we get to hear for the first time Ellery's voice pitted against Hoorns. And it's beautiful. The harshness of his vocal is softened by hers, intertwining as a hypnotic chant.

But it's when you hit centerpiece '$ORO' that you realise that the album is an absolutely bat-shit crazy attempt at pop music. In some ways, it's a track that wouldn't sound out of place on the new Zayn album, and to be honest is way more of a banger than most of his. "I see money over everything," Ellery sings, voice auto-tuned to fuck, as stabbing synths and cascading trap drums rattle. The chorus is a massive, stadium-sized yell, with Hoorn's voice auto-tuned so much it makes her sound like Rihanna at her most badass. Then out of nowhere an apocalyptic drum and bass beat punches you. It's a masterpiece.

Every song has elements of contemporary pop, like 'Beneath the Concrete''s sampled and clipped drum beats, or 'First Eye to the Sky''s skittering hi-hats, but it's all warped. Layers become muddied. It's at the same time triumphant and sorrowful. Even the more simple and sparse tracks, like the beautiful Hoorn-led 'Loyalty' or the acoustic closer 'The Great Longing' feature hooks and great pop writing. But that's always been Ellery's strong point.

'Lost Under Heaven' presents a different angle as well. It's cut a lot more in the vein of a standard guitar band, the opening chords especially reminding one of The Cribs, but it immediately takes a different turn, pounding you with incessant drumming and vocals that are way higher up in the mix than anywhere else. Ellery sounds more on edge than elsewhere on the album. As he yells, "my girl my girl we don't belong here," you understand what the album is to the pair; two outsiders peering into the musical landscape, picking out bits they like and twisting them into their own image.

Although it seems reductionist to place the album so closely with Ellery's other work, it does seem fitting. He writes in a certain style, produces in a certain style and sings in a certain style. LUH keeps everything that made his previous projects captivating and channels them into areas where they shouldn't really work. But that's why this album works.