Mad By Moonlight

To those familiar with Thomas Tantrum's eponymous 2008 debut, Tick Tick (Satie) will sound oddly languid. Sprightly guitar picks linger and sprinkle the background to Megan Thomas' lazy, tempered voice so when she yelps "I've not slept a wink" you can easily empathise. For this follow-up has been a relatively long time coming and the almost Tom Vek-esque delay hints at a much considered absence.

Fear not, the opening track is only a tempting prelude to the more expected indie pop delights within for Face The Music's linting guitar licks can be likened to The Cure with additional shuffling basslines that suggest Pete Hook. An 80's smorgasbord of musicianship then and even the pace sounds sublimely withdrawn while attention can be excused to deliciously childish couplets. By Cold Gold their rampant immediacy has returned as Thomas demonstrates how her voice has matured and ripened to switch sharply between intimate to yearning wails.

As centre-stage as Thomas dictates, you could be forgiven for thinking that Lulu had taken over lead vocals for Sleep, such is the trademark opening wail. The energy remains set by an irresistibly charming synth and rhythms that struggle to decide whether to stick or twist. What occurs is a romp of distorted guitar that would easily keep any party going. And no, Hot Hot Summer is not a Young Knives cover but another winsome paean, this time to love during colder climes. For once David Miatt's guitar seems dutifully in tune with Thomas' pleading vocals as they ebb and flow towards an impassioned climax.

Whether insistent or argumentative, Thomas' schizophrenic performance seems to envelope tracks, most notably during We Are The People. Even Only Human seems to edge towards philosophy; torn between forceful faith of the self and crippling doubt of why we all do the things we do set to soulful drumming and sporadic, momentous guitar. Fair to say Thomas Tantrum have grown up.

Occasionally the quartet seems sure of themselves; when they want to they can produce a brilliantly inviting intro such as the building, pervasive opening to Turning Blue. The track itself is imbued with the sort of swooning indie-pop that will steal them towards major festivals. For the mid-afternoon lull, the likes of On The Phone, with its B-52's torso twisting chorus and Betty Blue with its transfixing forcefulness, will sparkle.

Aided by soothing, angelic ahhs and subtle references to heaven, All In Your Head sounds almost otherworldly, so much so you expect it to soundtrack Professor Brian Cox staring into the skies. That leaves Supermodel to end the album to the ebbs of sleep on a worn, dreamlike note.

"Mad By Moonlight" depicts the quartet at a matured stage since their debut. Gone is the childish exuberance of youth, replaced by a patience of tune and a surefooted assurance planted by Thomas' engaging vocals. Their talent of combining inventive melody with a joyful effervescence remains yet Thomas Tantrum have been given a welcome rebirth.