There’s a fine line between a meticulous and inventive approach to your music and sheer self indulgent wank. It’s so easy for an inquisitive mind to get bogged down in electronic wizardry and to forget the organic essence of the thing you started on an acoustic guitar or piano several months previously. Throwing caution to the wind and burning your effects pedals, samplers and Macintosh laptops in a ritualistic ceremony of rock ‘n’ roll and plastic fumes is the safer yet far more glorious option. On the other hand this only goes so far and when the three chord tricks run out of steam there is more often than not, very little left. There must be a compromise somewhere?

Of course, there is no such thing as compromise in rock ‘n’ roll, this is a meeting and subsequent seductive sex session between two disciplines that despite many years of courting, still provoke derision and whispers when they hold hands on the street.

The bouts of experimentation on Radiohead’s previous 3 albums although undoubtedly different, clever and interesting often seemed token and more than skippable until they came to a perfectly formed head on the masterpiece that is 2007’s ‘In Rainbows’. I mention Radiohead as this is an all too obvious comparison to make with TALK (confirmed especially when 4th track ‘Victor’ begins with precisely the same piano lull of ‘Pyramid Song’), although it took the dons of Oxford at least 4 albums to get this playful. The main difference as far as I can see/hear is that Radiohead are essentially a rock band with a penchant for the weird and wonderful whereas this is other way round.

The eerie mess of kaos pads, Theremins and drum machines are complimented by the same dabs of bright guitar arpeggios knitting the songs together deftly as an afterthought. Keeping us six-string fascists happy but oblivious to the fact that we are being willingly indoctrinated to electronica’s charms, this is a fine, fine album which takes you by surprise one more than a few occasions.

Not the head-fuck its first appears when the first modem signal blast of noise hits your delicate ears, ‘RESET START AGAIN’ is (how can I put this?), ’a journey into time and space’, where benevolence and malevolence go hand in hand nicely. The twisted menace of the synths and the molested, distorted sounds of something or other mixed with something else, blissfully unite with a set of darkly sweet tunes and chords. This makes for uneasy but hugely enjoyable listening and leaves you wildly dizzy without the queasiness. Lush organs and pianos meet freaky processed beats and an almighty electric hullabaloo but never grate or clash for a second, or more importantly, give you that fake taste of ‘media student assignment’ in your mouth.

The vocals are largely indecipherable, but are a warm swoon of words whose peaceful ambience lets you envisage a virtuous wisdom like an alien’s message through cheap transistors. Reminiscent also of French lounge pioneers AIR at the softer moments, this can seem strangely unoriginal for an album so outrageously free-spirited and psychedelically unrestricted but you overlook this gladly.

The only criticism I have to make is that I can’t really pick out an individual track to dissect, as they meld into one another before you have a chance. As a lover of the power of the genuine ‘pop’ anthem and a lyrical manifesto over the faceless ipod filler, I could take issue with this but would not want to diminish the quality of the 36 minutes and 36 seconds of great music on this album.

Soundscapes for people who hate the word soundscape. Nice