The Checks' 2009 sophomore release Alice By the Moon was a great album - it had an immediate catchiness, but its depth belied the still young years of the Auckland five-piece. There were high expectations for its follow-up and fortunately, they've outdone themselves.

They show a hint of humour, a little more groove and funk, and a definite joy in being pretty nutty. Tracks like the tongue-in-cheek, hazy, swooning Perfect Lover make for
an excellent summer soundtrack, and there's a poignancy to 70s folk-rocker Winter Sun that makes it an album highlight.

First single Candyman Shimmer is a deeply groovy tropicana heatwave, with perfectly placed guitar licks and synth lines, which makes great use of Ed Knowles' vocal versatility.

Beautiful vulnerability is evident in Spiders, a swinging track with great horn lines, which demonstrates their great dynamic range and there's a folk-like lyricism to the guitar line which opens Dogs of Perfection, while Ready to Die, Jet Plane, and Black Frog all comprehensively rock out, their 60s and 70s influences clear.


Final track My Brother is a smooth, dark jam session, providing a great come-down to the 10 head-spinning tracks.

Stars: 5/5