DECKARD Dreams Of Dynamite And Divinity (Deckard)

It doesn't seem like five minutes since folk were decrying Muse as the Radiohead for people who didn't go for all that experimental bleeping. And now we have Deckard, the Muse for people who preferred them before they went the full "Bohemian Rhapsody". Yet "Dreams Of Dynamite And Divinity" is a far more entertaining listen than any Muse album with which I'm acquainted. Possessed by such a surfeit of memorable tunes that they hide a few away in the gaps between tracks, with a "Bladerunner"-inspired name, a corruption of Picot's "Cupid And Psyche" for a cover and their own eponymous label, the work of this Scottish quartet bristles with confidence, and quite rightly so. In fact, it's almost disappointing that the press release chooses to dwell on the use of Deckard's music in a recent episode of "Friends", rather testing the maxim that there's no such thing as bad publicity.

A thunderous opening tumult - kind of like the whole of Yes' "Close To The Edge" compressed into ten seconds - stumbles into the rather more straightforward riffage of "To Your Soul", the only song I've ever heard that utilises the phrase "in and of itself", before morphing into some decadent piano and barking, grumbling guitar that could be a studio sweeping from "Diamond Dogs". "When Picking Fights" displays manic desperation, like a sped-up, fed up Sabbath. "Grace's Estate" is possibly their finest moment here, a song that slowly rises and shakes off sleep like a big, dangerous cat.

Two minor caveats: "Dreams Of Dynamite And Divinity" is a serious album, with not a chink of levity to be found amongst its ten tracks. And a more expansive, expensive production might take some of the burden of proof from the shoulders of the songs and arrangements. Otherwise, it's a sterling effort.