Consider how Still Corners began, and their maturity into the band behind Strange Pleasures becomes even more remarkable. Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray both ran into each other when they got off the same train at the wrong stop. What are the chances of that?! If not for that, Still Corners as we know them probably wouldn't exist: Hughes would probably have moved into production work; who knows what Murray would have done? We should be thankful for their very existence, especially since Strange Pleasures is such a good record. It's a lot more expansive and outward-looking than the devastating debut Creatures of an Hour, a harrowing post-breakup record which must have been extraordinarily difficult for Hughes to become involved with, as that album was rooted in his own personal experiences. Still Corners have shifted gears since then, however, and their accessible music is now able to breathe properly - their sound is now much bigger than before; so big, in fact, that it's a wonder there are still only two people involved.

The 12-song record trumps its predecessor by a good 14 minutes, and is a far more uplifting musical experience, the duo's new widescreen pop sound coming across extremely well, with Hughes once again on production duties for the duo's most infectious songs to date. 'The Trip' gets things going, its arpeggiating synths and charming keyboard melody floating over the top of a strummed acoustic guitar and a surprisingly summery main riff. Murray's vocals are hushed and delicate, suiting the dreamy atmosphere of the music perfectly, and as the album starts to hit its stride with the mid-tempo sprawl of 'I Can't Sleep', the evolution of the duo's sound begins to become clear; they've opted for the cinematic soundscapes made famous by acts such as M83 - 'Fireflies', in particular, is heavily influenced by Anthony Gonzalez's work, but Murray's expressive voice ensures that the song, driven by skittering hi-hats and a sense of wide-eyed wonder, comes across as something which only Still Corners could have written.

The record isn't without its more downbeat moments, with doomed love once again rearing its head on 'Beginning to Blue', and the minor-key penultimate track 'We Killed the Moonlight' standing out as one of the more pessimistic moments on the album, but there can be no light without darkness, and since darkness is what the duo used to excel in, those two songs can't be faulted for being a stylistic departure. They certainly do fit in with the overall sound of the album, and for every gloomy moment that appears over the course of Strange Pleasures' 45 minutes, there are moments of euphoria to counteract them. Current single 'Berlin Lovers' is a synth-driven delight, and 'Future Age' is quite possibly the best song that the duo have written so far. They've definitely pushed themselves on this album, and the pleasures it offers up aren't strange at all; in fact, they're quite exciting - Hughes and Murray have pulled a stylistic U-turn and embraced pop, and the results are impressive.