It's hard not to admire a band like this. You would think that - after three years away, and such a period of inactivity that you would have been forgiven for thinking that they had quietly split up - Sky Larkin would have returned with a radically different approach; that they would have drastically changed their sound or taken some great, terrifying leap into the unknown.

None of those things happened (and if you're reading this, you're probably relieved that they haven't called it quits) - four years on from their debut, The Golden Spike, they're still doing what they do best - that is, creating the sort of hooky and confident indie-pop that deserves to put them on the same footing as bands twice their stature.

The band haven't exactly been in stasis since second album Kaleide, though - Katie Harkin's been off on tour with Wild Beasts; bassist Doug Adams has departed the band (to be replaced by the more-than-capable Sam Pryor), and Nile Marr has joined the band as second guitarist, meaning that the sound of their third album, Motto, has increased in both size and scope, something that was hinted at by the title track earlier this year.

The actual lead single, 'Loom', finds Harkin giving voice to a haunting lyric over thunderous drumming (courtesy of Nestor Matthews) and a breezy melody: "Loom, loom, you're always in the room / A personal ghoul," while 'The Loyal Beat' gives some insight into the overall feel of the record: "Darling, I'm drowning / The cacophony is coming for me," runs its unsurprisingly peppy chorus. There's often a marked contrast between the tone of the lyrical content and the sound of the songs, but then again, Sky Larkin have always worn contrast well.

There are noticeably darker shades to their songs this time around, with the arresting opening line of 'Overgrown' lingering in the memory long after the song itself has finished: "In the hills above Bradford, there was a horrid accident." It's a striking way to begin one of the most powerful songs in their catalogue, and this power is conveyed in more forceful ways on the epic album centrepiece 'Frozen Summer', which, over 6 minutes, stands out as as a fine example of how a band's sound can grow with out changing all that much.

When it comes down to it, nothing on Motto is radically different from Sky Larkin's other albums, but their sound has become much fuller, their songs bigger and their hooks even more direct (investigate 'Carve It Out' to be treated to one of the finest songs they've written to date). They're now at the stage where they sound like seasoned pros ready to take on the world. If there's anything here as impressive as the music itself, it's the confidence that drips from every note and makes Motto one of the finest comebacks of the year.