Four years ago Limerick trio Bleeding Heart Pigeons delivered their stunning debut album ‘Is’ which although quite experimental in nature, deserved far much more attention and support than it received at the time. Since then the band consisting of Mícheál Keating, Brendan McInerney and Cathal Histon have been through a tumult of music business trials and tribulations, as they told us recently, but have emerged from that reinvigorated with ‘Stir’ their triumphant sophomore album.

On ‘Stir’ they forgo their more esoteric tendencies to play in deeper, more personal spaces pulling you along on an emotional journey that is wrought by Keating’s dextrous and affecting vocal range, sound tracked by his pristine hooks, the wonderful wash of Histon’s luscious synths, all driven by the creative rhythms of McInerney. Keating also adds this record to his impressive list of production credentials (check out recent releases from the likes Hey Rusty, His Father’s Voice & Casavettes for more examples of his music desk talents).

‘Stir’ is a record bursting with atmosphere and feeling that sets the standard at premium level early on with the outstanding All for the Best. It’s a song full of “patient torment” with Keating making every chord feel like a wrench on the strings of a shattered heart, but as the title and the shimmering electronica suggests there is always a sliver of hope to offer comfort.

Lead single Real Connection was the perfect way to introduce us to this incarnation of Bleeding Heart Pigeons and could almost be viewed as a theme song for the band. It’s sharp, polished and instantly grabs you with its refrains.

Elsewhere on the album highpoints include the gorgeous cascading keys of I Don’t Love You Anymore which lead to an achingly climatic falsetto burst and the superb combination of hypnotic drums, heavenly treated fiddle from Padhraig O’Donoghue (Post Punk Podge) and a searing eruption of guitar from Keating on Trapped, possibly one of his “ways of breaking free”.

Later on the album Spiritual Union is a perfect encapsulation of all that is impressive about Bleeding Heart Pigeons, with the trio exploding into a glorious cacophony, before we are gently sent on our way with the soothing ode that is Good Dogs Never Die and the promise that “the darkness won’t hurt us anymore”.

Unlike its predecessor there are no epic seven minute plus opuses on ‘Stir’, but that doesn’t mean that the songs are any less ambitious, in fact the band have honed their experimental instincts to produce a record that is both overflowing with innovation and packed with a powerful, stirring immediacy. It is a progression that should open up their appeal to a wider audience, whilst more than satisfying even the most fervent Bleeding Heart Pigeon fan.

‘Stir’ is available for order on Bandcamp now and is released on May 22nd.