The second album complex, it's a tricky bugger isn't it? So many falter thanks to record company putting pressure to rushing out an incomplete set of tracks that were penned on the tour bus, are tinged by exhausted in-fighting and so just don't quite hang together. Well, having allowed just about three years to elapse since their debut offer, The Kabeedies return with a new label backing (hello, Fierce Panda) and with their new album Soap.

Not content to knock out just another collection of throwaway power pop tunes, The Kabeedies have spent some time honing their sound. Whilst the simple hooks and catchy chant-along choruses of the old days are evident throughout, the sound is bigger and a little more grown up than their first effort. 

Despite pigeon-holing themselves as 'Afro-beat' (which admittedly sent alarm bells ringing at this end) the sound is more akin to Vampire Weekend (if they were from Norwich) than anything too sub-Saharan.

The record opens strongly with the bass-run of 'Hang Ups Of The West', a jangly pop song that harks back to their roots with The Futureheads-esque harmonies out in force. The vocal dynamic shared between Rory and Katy seem finely balanced and well tuned. They playing off each other to great effect throughout the record and these harmonies help to paint a warm and summery vibe across many of the tracks. 

The upbeat tempo continues through the record and by the time recent single 'Santiago' drops, Soap has descended into an all out horn infused fiesta. That being said, this is not exactly a bubblegum pop record.  The pace is taken off of things a little with the slightly downbeat 'Bones' and 'LT' actually helps make the record a little more palatable and avoid it all getting too sickly sweet. There's a lot going on and something new seemed to catch my attention with each spin - there's accordion action, a bit of brass and then there's the omnipotent and looming threat of impending Afro-beat.

Said Afro-beat (if you can call it that) rears it's reviewer-jittering head in places ('Underfloor Lover'), but thankfully it's not really to the detriment to the record. In fact it somehow works, and never goes too far down that road as to become pretentious.

Whilst Soap signals a change in direction for The Kabeedies, the record doesn't really break any new ground per se. Despite this, drawing on the influences that The Kabeedies have done, is no bad thing. The end result is an album that will get listeners geared up for the summer, have their toes tapping and maybe even see some breaking it down with the Norwich Maasai.