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Iggy Pop's John Peel lecture about how to succeed in today's music business was fascinating for two reasons: the first was, of course, his hair. I mean, did you see that hair? My God, it was as if he had gone back to 1997, stolen onto the set of Friends and scalped Jennifer Aniston in front of a live studio audience. Screw car insurance, the man should be advertising L'Oréal! But even more fascinating than his miracle barnet was the conclusion he drew after an hour of musing on the nature of artist profit and the public consumption of music. His advice to young bands? "Just keep going; you will, eventually, get paid." That perhaps places too much faith in the industry, which Iggy admits has not exactly been unkind to him - but it is sound in its way. The fact that it takes longer than ever for musicians to actually hit paydirt for their art means that they have to really, really want it; and, more importantly, be able to want it for a long time.

The Bronze Medal have been inadvertently taking Iggy's advice for a while now. A going concern for over five years, they have thus far released a smattering of singles and last year's Bronze Medal EP. Tellingly, none of those songs make it on to Darlings, their debut album - not because they are in any way inferior, but because this record works so well as its own entity.

Darlings was recorded and produced in Iceland with Valgeir Sigurdsson, who has previously worked with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Damon Albarn and Sigur Rós. It sounds gorgeous. Swelling brass arrangements reminiscent of Efterklang; crisp, bright guitar lines (particularly on standout track 'High Fever') and glittering piano flourishes all contribute to a feeling of warmth, of safety. I can't remember the last time I heard a record so comforting. Opening track 'Tunnel' segues into 'Walls' and nicely showcases two sides of the band: the gentle build and lithe chorus of the former, the busy drums and insistence of the latter.

Influences are easy to spot, but just as easily transcended. The National, Frightened Rabbit and The Remote Part-era Idlewild all seem to be key inspirations, but crucially The Bronze Medal don't rest too heavily on them; Darlings is sonically quite busy, restless, always looking for the next ear-pleasing detail. The showpiece track 'Darlings', at six-and-a-half minutes, could be a slog, but such is the band's skill at arrangement that it never treads water, patiently introducing and removing layers before a cymbal-crashing release.

For a band who have been criticised in the past for being a trifle too patient in their approach, Darlings delivers payoff after payoff without sacrificing the tension and build of their earlier releases. Occasionally it can feel a little too mannered, but that is a minor quibble. This is the sound of a band brimming with confidence and now entirely at ease with their sound. They have lived in it for a long time, and they believe in it. You should too.

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