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When British quartet Younghusband released their debut album Dromes two years ago, it almost felt like a late entry into the crowded neo-psychedelic revival trend that had already been underway for a few years. It wasn't exactly a case of slavish revivalism though, and what has set the band apart from the beginning is a strong sense of songcraft that strikes just enough of a balance between familiarity and originality. Listening to their sophomore album Dissolver, it's clear that this is a band less interested in establishing a particular musical identity than they are in exploring whatever styles and sounds pique their interests at the moment.

During the tour for Dromes, they were already starting to move away from the sound they had explored on that album, with vocalist-guitarist Euan Hinshelwood in particular finding himself feeling disconnected and wanting to write songs that put greater emphasis on things like melodies and rhythm. Dissolver sees Younghusband doing just that: shifting their music in a more melodic direction but without completely abandoning the psychedelic pop of their debut, which is most prominent on 'Broken Girls' and 'Better Times', songs that recall Odessey and Oracle-era Zombies. Rather than tearing everything down and starting from scratch, they instead repurpose and refine certain elements and, in turn, build something much more immediate from them.

Some of Drome's more rockish songs like 'Comets Crossed', 'Left of the Rocks', 'Silver Sisters', and 'Reunion Message' serve as blueprints for 'Waverly Street', 'Blonde Blending', and 'She Lies Awake', songs that echo the energetic and upbeat tunefulness of power-pop bands like Shoes and Teenage Fanclub, pulling their strong melodies that were lurking all along beneath the haze to the surface and allowing them properly shine. Mixed and recorded in a span of two weeks by LOOP member Robert Hampson, Dissolver is a much crisper album that benefits from the rapid sessions as there is a looseness and urgency in the music that was lacking on their debut. The biggest revelation though comes from Hinshelwood's singing.

Whereas he previously relied on layers of delay slathered over his voice to do all of the work for him, here, Hampson has wisely peeled away all of those layers and moved Hinshelwood's voice front and center, revealing a surprisingly rich and breezy falsetto. On the slow chugging 'Heavy Expectations' he almost sounds as if he were conjuring Alex Chilton fronting the Loaded era Velvet Underground, and on the gentle sway of 'Misguided Light', his voice rings just as clearly and brightly as the guitars backing it. Dissolver is a confident and comparatively focused outing for Younghusband, one that sees them further developing their musical interplay and tightening their already sturdy sense of songcraft. Tempting as it may be to think that maybe they have finally settled on a particular style, it's likely that this is simply another transitional phase for a band whose creative spirit is just too restless for any parameters to restrain or define them.

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