After being a bit quiet for a couple of years, Southampton’s Thomas Tantrum have returned, with both a new drummer and a new album. Following on from the release of the Birdsong EP last December, Mad By Moonlight is the band’s second album.

Whilst their spiky, self-titled debut helped to earn them the dubious honour of a celebrity endorsement from Lily Allen, Thomas Tantrum’s new effort has a mellower feel to it. Apparently based on the concept of sleep (or a lack thereof), there are sparse, chorused guitars (as on album opener ‘Tick Tock’) upbeat Cure-like riffs such as on ‘Face The Music’ (a song which first appeared on the Birdsong EP), whilst tracks like ‘Cold Gold’ and the single ‘Hot Hot Summer’ give the occasional nod to Thomas Tantrum’s earlier efforts. ‘All In Your Head’ strives for the epic, with what sounds like an angelic choir in the background, whilst album closer 'Supermodel' stands out from the crowd with its unexpected acoustic lilt.

One thing that is noticeable as you listen to the album is that Megan Thomas’ vocals are much stronger and much more nuanced, less prone to the gobby Mock-er-ney of old (though the opening of the track ‘Sleep’ gives you a cold-sweat inducing flashback to Lulu’s ‘Shout’!).

Mad By Moonlight is a polished and, dare I say it, more mature long player. Thomas Tantrum are still capable of creating catchy little tunes and, though the edges may have been smoothed off, this is still an enjoyable (if not earth-shattering) album.

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