Dappled Cities – Lake Air

Three years on from third album Zounds and it seems like the darkness has shifted and Dappled Cities have turned the lights on full-blast. The output sounds fun and effortless even though they’ve admitted the process was a long and often difficult. Here they extend some of the ideas previously tackled on Zounds, but the mood is certainly more euphoric.

First single ‘Run With The Wind’ opens the album with a defiant cry, “We walk!”, supported by carnival fanfare, soaring harmonies and a strong pop hook. The record’s lyrics include ruminations on death, life and family and the writing seems to have renewed the carefree spirit found by looking back at their individual childhoods.

There is the honest simplicity in ‘Real Love’, which boasts a celestial groove; the title track could hold its own among any of the big, ‘70s numbers it references (Bowie, Queen, Wings, et al); while Dappled show their interest in the here and now on ‘Born At The Right Time’, which ruminates on being privileged in 2012. Lake Air concludes with melancholic piano ballad ‘Waves’, and ‘The Weekend’, which ends things on a light, Vampire Weekend-inspired note.

Dappled Cities have somehow managed to squeeze all of the best aspects of their band – from their art-rock beginnings to the synth-fuelled material on Zounds – into a tight record, running just over 40 minutes.