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It's been a long four years waiting for this Auckland quartet to follow up their clever, cheeky and angular dance rock debut Elixir Always. Many things got in the way, from living in Britain with mixed results to the band members' other interests taking over.

On Strangers Again there is nothing as biting as the brilliantly brazen All Your Friends Are Rats. And that first album was also rock 'n' roll you could dance to whereas Strangers has a more measured mood to it. On first impressions at least, it puts them in the same domain as bands like Editors and Interpol.

However, what makes Collapsing Cities different, is the sparkling, rousing ride the they take off on. Opener Tazers bubbles along before opening up, there's the frenzied post-punk meets blistering dance-rock of Mega 5th, and you have to love singer Steve Mathieson's deadpan delivery on Queue For the Queue ("You're in the bathroom looking like skeleton, I'm on the telephone trying not to zone out.").

While it can sound derivative at times - Favours for Favours is like the Smiths, mostly thanks to guitarist and singer James Brennan doing a Morrissey impression, and Evacuation Plan is a nod to the Strokes, Collapsing Cities have expanded their sound in a more diverse and refined direction.


But though it may have lost the innocence and rawness of their debut, it also sounds more accomplished.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Finally. And it's worth the wait.
Click here to buy a copy of Strangers Again by Collapsing Cities.

- TimeOut