Some records are one or two songs away from perfection. The fourth studio album from Allie Hanlon’s Peach Kelli Pop is mostly a solid re-tread of familiar pop punk tropes, but speckled with a couple of transcendent moments which point towards a very promising side in more mainstream fare.

80% of Gentle Leader is a solid, if unspectacular collection of sweet harmonies, punchy guitars and smash and grab song structures. Opener ‘Hello Kitty Knife’ fairly boots in the door in its quest to be memorable, and if there’s a familiar, mid-to-late 90’s teen flick feel to the whole thing it’s not necessarily to the album’s detriment. ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Quiet’ both repeat the trick, showing off a very solid rhythm section and beautifully sweet vocal arrangement. Fans of Lipstick Homicide will feel right at home. I felt a little like I’d walked straight out of 2018 into the gig scene from Chasing Amy.

The album is divided almost exactly between two poles; Belle and Sebastian-esque acoustic pop with flourishes of sweetly naive Casio like a reincarnated Bangles, and the aforementioned punky fun. In its slower moments, in place of the faintly annoying twee of The Staves, PKP eschew the coffee and cardigans for something more bombastic. Then, out of nowhere, comes the gut punch.

‘Parasomnia’ is out of step with everything else on the record – and country miles better. Whereas most of the album is happy to scream along at a hundred miles an hour, often without enough satisfying hooks or changes to enable the listener to get much purchase, its one, standout moment is thoughtful and melancholic. The track sets aside the attention-grabbing tempo of much of the record and allows the cherubic vocals to rule. It may only be March, but I suspect there won’t be too many tracks written in 2018 that are better than this.

To be fair, ‘Honey’ nearly repeats the trick, but without quite the same impact. It feels perverse to lay so much praise onto one song, but it’s that kind of album. If Peach Kelli Pop can take that inspiration and spread it over a full 40 or so minutes, they’ll make a masterpiece.