On The Departure’s lead single, ‘Marry You’, we are introduced to a flavour that we haven’t necessarily come to expect from Siobhan Wilson’s music. Her new toy, a low-rumbling, growling Baritone Gretsch guitar, paints the track with a fiery 90s alternative coat. Without it, the track could conceivably be misconstrued as a blinking-eyed, submissively romantic love letter. With this growl, it adopts a stance of autonomy and independence, a controlling agency that Wilson embodies throughout this second album.

Wilson’s message is clear. On ‘April’, she sings, “Read a novel if you want/ Be a model if you want/ Reinvent whatever you want/ Or be as simple as you want.” The understated string arrangement that underscores the words does nothing to obstruct them, but rather imbues them with a surge of can-do optimism. This is an album that sets out to deal with the heaviest of the contemporary malaises – identity politics and the difficulty of maintaining self-worth in a social media-riven climate.

‘All Dressed Up Tonight (Better Than I Ever Did With You)’, also adorning the low-slung grizzle of the Gretsch in direct counterpoint to the sweet pop melody that Wilson sings over the top, tackles head-on the complexities surrounding female objectification, especially the potentially destructive internalisation thereof. The song is the antidote, a paean to taking back control of your image in order to take back control of our control. The issues are made manifest on the excellent track ‘Unconquerable’, which features a co-lead vocal from Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale, as the two external voices roleplay their two inner counterparts (“You’re meant to be modest and humble” / “Are we forever to tread the line between being human and being divine?”). This expression of the internal quarrel is direct and effective, a succession of punch-the-air moments.

Wilson is pointedly less direct elsewhere. The esoteric track ‘Stars Are Nonzero’ boasts decidedly more oblique, expressionistic writing (“Grief has feathers, that’s why it understands”), which strays a little more into the art-rock experimental waters for which the Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter had initially become noticed. Where 2017 debut There Are No Saints drew on her background in classical music and her taste for the pushing of a boundary, this album does not want anything to obfuscate its message. Wilson takes this to some significant end-point on tracks such as ‘Reflections’, which finds her stripping away virtually all complexity, leaving nothing but a hushed, finger-plucked guitar, her voice and some ambient effects. Wilson ekes a tear-inducing volume of emotion from this most elementary of arrangements, a testament to her intuitive understanding of her own voice.

Once again, Wilson draws upon her years spent living in Paris, singing two French language covers, both of vintage 60s chansons. Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Ne Dis Rien’ (Say Nothing) is reimagined in a strangely digitised version, but its inclusion serves as a marked contrast to the inversely titled ‘Dis Quand Reviendras-Tu?’ (When Will You Come Back?), the potentially problematic gender dynamic of the former (especially given its author’s track record) overturned by the latter in another smart and pointed critique of our misogyny-riddled times.

This album certainly does mark a “departure” for Siobhan Wilson, but it sheds none of her allure. With her experimental tendencies still in her back pocket, it will be interesting to see how the differing approaches of her first two albums foreshadow what lies in her future.