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The Dowling Poole: Bleak Strategies

Some gloriously batty Great British tomfoolery.

The psychedelic brainchild of ex-Cardiac and Ginger Wildheart alumnus Jon Poole and Jackdaw4/Honeycrack polymath Willie Dowling, this exquisite frolic through the verdant pastures of lysergic pop and ultra-British whimsy is simply one of the most gorgeously idiosyncratic records to emerge in years.

Fans of XTC in their mid 80s pastoral pomp will immediately fall in love with songs like wide-eyed opener The Sun Is Mine, fidgeting symphonic pop splurge Hey Stranger and the swirling keys and Squeeze-meets-Damned rush of Where The Memories Fester.

But this is much more than a pretty mess of familiar reference points. Its creators’ quirky sonic outlook and unerring knack for excitedly coughing up razor-sharp melodies ensure that Bleak Strategies briskly trumps its source material and mischievously ushers the listener into a fizzing, fresh and vivid world of relentless ingenuity and twinkling audio wonderment.

Flawless and exhilarating, this demands to be the soundtrack to all our waking summer dreams.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.