Following the underground success of 2009's Yeah, So?, the rather wonderful Slow Club have finally, finally returned with an astonishingly accomplished sophomore record in the shape of Paradise. Refusing to be shackled by what they took to be unwelcome labels of 'twee' and the always ambiguous 'nu-folk', Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson have crafted a desperate, disparate album that is both immediate in its romance yet defined by a rich melancholy, a certain aural resignation which has come to define their unique sound.

As opposed to the inherently acoustic charm of their debut, Paradise juxtaposes a jarring sense of electronica with the raucous exhibitionism of the dual vocal. Whilst undoubtedly brave, this is a record that takes deliberate steps to debunk the 'twee' myth and establishes Slow Club as a band with so much more than just a couple of nice folk songs. This is one of the records of the year in its depth and nuance, with the longevity to stir emotion long after the final embers have started to fade.

From the sparse, haunting arrhythmia of 'Two Cousins' to the trademark abandonment of 'Where I'm Waking', this is an album which retains a distinct removal from the listener, yet suggests an intrusive voyeurism in the chemistry of the vocal, as Charles' delicate falsetto meets Rebecca's effortless, soaring howl to create something altogether unique. As opposed to the shy, nervous exchanges on previous tracks like 'Apples and Pairs', 'The Dog' portrays a somewhat competitive notion as the distinct tones wrestle over a soaring Arcade Fire harmony, inspiring the desperate fear of the future that runs throughout the album. It is a hugely optimistic record in its sheer resignation; through the shadow of an ever-conscious nihilism the Sheffield duo find celebration in brevity, a sense of opportunism in the present.

In refusing to be limited by their acoustic roots, Slow Club have embraced a level of minimal electronics and a depth to their sound arguably lacking in the past, with the introduction of extra live members to bolster their impact. 'Hackney Marsh' is most compatible with their past output, fitting alongside works like 'Sorry About The Doom' in its whimsical imagery and hopeless diversion, but bursts into life with a discordant bassoon solo that fits perfectly against the dogged, hollow backdrop. There are elements of Jeff Buckley to the plummeting guitar of 'Gold Mountain', yet it remains intrinsically relevant to the album, as Charles and Rebecca implore “hold on for God's sake”, with the distinctly epic narrative bewailing “you are the only one, the only one that counts”. There is a bleak optimism to Paradise, as it takes delight in the subtleties of intimacy. As an exhibition in escapism, 'Horses Jump' recalls the simple pleasures of awkward conversation - ”we'll talk because it's new again, and that's worth waiting for”- over a string soundscape, before momentarily lapsing into regret that “good love is hard to forget."

Though perhaps not as obvious as Yeah, So, this is an album that retains the naïve charm of their debut whilst sonically progressing to levels both unpredictable and shamelessly rewarding. A beautiful, emotional record.