In 2006, the Little Ones released one of the finest debut EPs of the 21st Century and, without trying to sound too Michael Caine, not a lot of people know that. Sing Song was unleashed with perfect timing; the Shins were at the height of their popularity (in between Chutes Too Narrow and Wincing The Night Away), Hot Chip and Band of Horses released notable debut LPs full of catchy hooks of very different kinds, and even indie-pop mainstays Belle & Sebastian were back on form. Yes, 2006 was a great year for the Little Ones to release a debut EP that featured seven songs of campus-friendly indie crammed with infectious vocal melodies and guitar lines which wormed their way into your sun-stroked brain and painted the inside walls of your skull with bright, psychedelic brush strokes.

But seven years is a long time. Wide-eyed, optimistic 18-year-olds have become unemployed, disillusioned 25s and listening back to Sing Song nowadays is like looking back at a picture of yourself as a young adolescent, sitting on a beach with friends clutching some old squeeze who has since settled down with all manner of STIs. Innocence has long since perished like the gusset of those swim trunks you were wearing on that long, hot summers day. It provides a tingling of nostalgia, but this is nostalgia with mixed feelings of distant happiness and embittered longing. Maybe it's time for a new generation of optimistic young things to enjoy this new release from the Little Ones, as it only makes me long for days of crushing sexual inexperience and vomiting after four cans of Stella... OK, not a lot has changed but now I have the ability to grow real stubble (NB. not an actual full beard or anything, I'm a 24 year old music nerd not a rugby playing cowboy).

There is plenty on The Dawn Sang Along to thrill a happy, willing listener. Any pop star in the world would be proud to call opener 'Argonauts' their own, 'Boy On Wheels' possesses all the unabandoned joy that the title suggests and 'Awol' delights in mixing the delirious with the hilarious. 'Art In The Streets' even sees the Little Ones venture into more daring territory, stepping out of their 3-and-a-half-minute jangle-pop safety zone and producing a 6-minute long track which sweeps through bosa nova instrumentals into sprawling carnivalesque rhythms and even indulges itself with a little funk-pop breakdown. Admirable, indeed, even more so when you notice that they even forgo their golden rule of constructing a song around an unshakable vocal hook.

For sure, this is a happy album, but a happy album does not always make happy listening. There is a noticeable dark cloud spilling across hot sands, a pimple forming on the face of some beautiful, lazy sunbather and what exactly is that floating in the pristine sea that looks suspiciously like a Picnic bar? The sense of excitement generated by Sing Song has dissipated, that feral sense of urgency has made way for methodical, painstaking production. If you've never encountered the Little Ones before, then The Dawn Sang Along might just tickle your dance glands, otherwise you might discover that the girl in that photograph, that first love of those ill-advised, passionate years, has seemingly become plain and unexcitable compared to the new flings you have since encountered along the way.