River Tiber join the long-ish list of artists who like to give their songs solemn, lofty sounding titles like 'Prophets', 'The Ancients', 'Atlantis' and 'Subtract'. Fortunately, there's enough sparkle on Synapses to raise a few smiles.

These days it seems it takes only the judicious use of a MIDI drumkit or two to merit the title 'electronic' when describing musicians that largely stick to the post-Kid A progressive guitar template. River Tiber (Tommy Paxton-Beesley's project) fall into the bedroom electro-indie stakes, comfortably joining the already teeming ranks of melancholic, navel-gazing types that like their reverb electronic and put their trust in the sonic capabilities of their Macs. Kind of the anti-Jack Whites of this world.

The album starts in promising fashion, with the nicely understated and not too plummy opening beats for 'Reverie' (as humourless a way of saying 'fun' as it's possible to find). Lacking a sense of urgency at first, the chimey guitar work eventually breaks into a prim stadium rock-out that sits awkwardly with what's gone before. With vocals pitched firmly in the Yorke/Buckley/Bellamy mystery white boy triangle, it's a frustrating beginning to a largely very competent collection.

The aforementioned po-faced song titles are not representative of the spirit of the album as a whole, with 'The Ancients' in particular mining a similar vein to The Eraser, only with a less satisfying conclusion, while 'Prophets' boasts some beautiful popping candy electronics that could populate an album all by themselves. The overriding atmosphere throughout is one of ambivalence, with the focus on cerebral, revolving chord progressions. Synapses frequently cries out for tonal shifts, with guitar work often bordering on the monotone, and a general feeling that the band enjoys asking questions rather more than answering them. Moments of beauty on the snippets 'Paper Wings' and 'Blue Light' recall the Andrew Broder/Yoni Wolf project Hymie's Basement, but it's the album's stand out track 'Subtract' that best demonstrates River Tiber's aesthetic at its most satisfying. Letting the guitars slide into a morass of atonal noise, 'Subtract' achieves a perfect blend between all of the best traits of Synapses. Coming across like a poppier version of The Notwist, the track finds as close to a resolution as is present in any part of the collection. It's no coincidence that it's one of the few tracks where the vocals sit squarely at the front of the mix, and don't flit around indecisively.

River Tiber have described their work in the following terms: "It tows the line between organic and artificial, between stability and disorientation; it's definitely ambivalent." I'd go further and say that 'definitively' ambivalent is closer to the truth. At every turn, the melodies shy away from evolving into something solid, inviting or even confrontational, instead remaining resolutely self-conscious. Fans of Alt-J and Thom Yorke's solo work, and even U.S. alt-rockers Cursive will find much here to their liking, although a sense of familiarity may seep in after a few listens. While Synapses is perfectly well-mannered and as neatly put together as a freshly packed smartphone, it can suffer from a similar feeling of clinicalness.