Album review: Our Ill Wills - Shout Out Louds

Something known only as life has kept BlackPlastic somewhat busy over the past weeks, but fear not sweet friend... Never throughout that period were you forgotten and now you are welcomed back with big wide open arms and a tall drink. And what better soundtrack to celebrate this than the Shout Out Louds, who follow up 2005's oft-overlooked gloriously sweet debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff with album number two, Our Ill Wills.

Starting with the swaggering, summery, string drenched 'Tonight I Have To Leave It' Our Ill Wills instantly lifts the production values beyond its predecessor's slightly. What remains are the glorious pop songs - sweet, touching, sad and yet still capable of making BlackPlastic play air drums like no-one's watching. Somehow, even without the lyrics, the Shout Out Louds manage to sound like you feel, and 'Tonight I Have To Leave It' sounds like a mixture between running to the park to meet your first girlfriend and breaking up with someone for the first time.

Such an analogy does much to convey the sound displayed here even more than the last album. Many of the songs on offer manage to sound sad and yet remain uplifting. 'You Are Dreaming' is thick with sprinting rhythms and strings that manages to sound like a midnight swim whilst 'Suit Yourself' utilises space, giving the vocals enough room to breath and therefore creating something much lighter in contrast.

At a time where the likes of Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse and The Shins are all achieving mainstream success there can be no doubt that the Shout Out Louds could score a hit. Our Ill Wills, peppered with flourishes that will enthrall the listener deserves every bit as much attention. Take 'Impossible' for example, with its muted guitar at the start that becomes enveloped in a wall of sound before everything dies down halfway through to let it all begin again. As the drums begin to kick back in beneath the strings around the five minute mark it becomes apparent the Shout Out Louds have created a near-seven-minute epic along the way. Or check out how 'South Africa' sounds just like a summer evening's bike ride. Want more power-pop ballads? 'Time Left For Love' has got pop by the bucket-full, with a clap-along rhythm section and a chorus distilled from MDMA.

Closing on the seven-and-a-half minute distortion heavy workout 'Hard Rain', which, unsurprisingly, sounds just like a rainy day that brings the floods, Our Ill Wills just might be the sweetest thing you hear this year. Don't let this pass you by.