Since the early days of electronic sounds, the best purpose for them has been the subject of argument by plenty of musicians: should we create sounds that couldn’t be created before, or produce a refined and clinical version of what was already being produced in analog? The Black Ghosts choose to do the second, and to good effect: When Animals Stare, the second full-length album from duo Theo Keating and Simon William, is an archetype of electro-pop.

Full of warm keyboards, and soulfully sung, the album contains a number of strong pseudo-ballads. Opener ‘Water Will Find a Way’ centres on a catchy string loop which sounds a little like the opening of a (good) musical drama, and ‘In the Clouds’, plus ‘Diamonds’, ‘Forgetfulness’, and ‘Your Soul is Free’ have a similar feel. On the other side of the coin, ‘Talk No More’ pivots on a sexy and sleazy bass part, giving the album a much-needed underbelly; if every track took on the slightly twee heir of some of the album’s less upbeat tracks, When Animals Stare, could grate quite quickly.

Thankfully, ‘That’s All There Is’, preceding ‘Talk No More’, joins in on that side of things, offering a Motown-esque bass line over which the vocals, often sweetly sung on When Animals Stare, and even moaned, are particularly sweet. The strongest pairing the album has to offer, ‘Talk No More’ in particular presents a kind of thematic sample of what the rest of the album aims at, combining these aspects – faint sentimentality, a sense of down and dirtiness; if electro-pop can be down and dirty – and with the more soulful elements of the track playing into the hands of the steady beat, the two elements circling around each other.

There’s enough in the way of danceable beats across the board, too, to keep things interesting. ‘Walking On The Moon’, ‘In The Clouds’ and ‘Even In The Darkness’ are a trio of tracks which keep up a high tempo, and stop things, as they could, from losing the listener’s attention; this is electro-pop, after all.

And it’s good electro-pop. When Animals Stare is a very good electro-pop album, full of all the catchy melodies, nicely sung vocals and toe-tapping beats you’d expect from an album in the genre. But there’s a little too much of it. At eleven tracks, it’s an album that’s just a little bit too long for a set of good generic tracks that don’t do anything too original, even if they do the expected things very well. For fans of the genre, this is a great album, but for people who view the scene with scepticism, it’s probably worth staying clear.