Three or so years ago Mothman and The Thunderbirds caught my ear with a quirky album entitled Into The Hollow that was totally different to anything waking waves at the time. Billed as prog sludge, it actually traversed far wider territories over the course of it’s eleven tracks and left a big impression on my addled old brain.

Fast forward to today and the arrival of new music from MaTT in the shape of Portal Hopper, a concept album about… well, portal hopping, actually. As you may well know by now I don’t have a great amount of patience as far as concept records are concerned; I prefer my tunes to move my feet rather than my cerebellum, but the good news is that, as far as the music goes here, the band have once again exceeded expectations in delivering a very tasty platter indeed.

That doesn’t mean that the concept doesn’t work – I’m sure it does – or that the music here is the same as it was on …Hollow – it isn’t. Alex Parkinson (the Mothman himself) is an incredibly accomplished musician, and so the thought of standing still musically clearly cut no ice, resulting in an album that stays true to the core MaTT principles whilst being somehow ‘more’ in every respect.

The music is bigger, brighter, sleeker and more sophisticated, a state of affairs brightly demonstrated by galloping opener Ruby Skies; As prog anthems go, the blessed Devin himself would be proud of this one, and it’s that stamp of quality from go to the woah of delicate closer Attic that really stands out. Portals is funky, djenty prog in excelsis, and features a beautiful solo from Russian progmeister Egor Lappo (who also mixed and mastered the album), whilst the majestic The Zaratan adds an almost shoegazey wooziness to the mix that is very alluring indeed.

Despite the fact that they’ve lost the element of surprise this time around, the Mothman continues to amaze and delight in equal measure on this new outing, and once again I can’t recommend them highly enough. Great stuff!

Portal Hopper releases on July 12th.