On paper Vaporous Light are a pretty neat idea. Three anonymous lovers of cinematic soundscapes, based in Manchester, brought together by a love of cinematic soundscapes.

The formula for their own music looks pretty blog friendly too. With a heavily layered sound built upon lo-fi synthesizers, daydreaming vocals, steel strings and God knows what else, Vaporous Light use a varied palette of many potential colours. But somehow, when it all mixes it just turns to shades of grey.

Take the opening tracks of this eponymous debut. Flouting all pacing conventions, the album starts with two fade in/fade out tracks, each near enough two minutes long. The first, ‘Lansdowne House’, starts promisingly. Its fuzzy warm acoustic psychedelia would function nicely as a warm up, before things get started. Cue the follow up, ‘Walter’. Which sounds exactly the same.

Even the album centerpieces never really get going. ‘Charming News’ repeatedly urges you with a deep drawl to “forget all the money that you haven’t got," a nice idea, which might hold you for the first minute before the song trails off into three minutes of nothing. ‘Rough Around The Edges’ has a decent enough carouselling chorus but little else going for it, and the rest all blurs into one big mess.

It sounds as though someone at the studio noticed though, as when the record starts to drag into its final third it goes off on a tangent to check you’re still listening. The weird double-punch combo of clichéd commitment-phobic garage rocker ‘Baby I’m Not Your Man’ and the simply bad electronic ‘I Keep My Musket Close’ are too little too late, just to leave the limp closing track to carry on like nothing happened – stumbling on to a weary conclusion.

Before this all gets a bit mean though, it’s worth pointing out that Vaporous Light aren’t awful. They’re just one of those bands that you have to really try to like. Not in a “give it a few listens and then you’ll get it” way but in a dangerous levels of denial way. If you’re the vocalist’s mum, or the guitarist’s best mate, then you probably could trick yourself into liking this album because there are positives to be found if you look hard enough. (The phrase diamond in the rough does spring to mind, but diamond sounds a bit excessive. It’s more like finding a ripped up fiver in a muddy puddle.)

If you look past the dirge and the dullness and the lackluster songwriting, you’ll find the occasional affecting soundscape, hinting at a collective talent that band have conspired to waste. If that talent can be refined then maybe, just maybe, a second album could be worth a listen. This one though? Nah. Don’t bother.