There’s no sign of the dreaded second-album-slump to be found on Field Theory, the hotly anticipated follow-up to the Melts’ 2022 debut full-length Maelstrom. Produced by Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox, the album blends motorik rhythms, pulsating synths and crashing guitars.

Frontman Eoin Kenny snarls his way through the opening one-two punch of ‘Figment’ and ‘Waves Of Wonder’, setting the tone for the rest of the album with their driving riffs and rhythms and darkwave undertones. With the synths pushed further to the fore this time around, the abrasive guitar tones and relentless drums are met with a welcome splash of colour.

Lyrically, Kenny employs a new approach, focusing on relationships and interactions. The album examines life, death, love, and loss, delving into much more personal terrain than the panoramic views described on Maelstrom.

Elsewhere on the album, the interplay between drummer Gaz Earle, keyboardist Robbie Brady and guitarist Hugh O’Reilly are in full flow, whether on the hypnotic ‘Clouded’, the pummelling ‘Main Sequence’ and the anxiety inducing, Joy Division-esque ‘Altered’. With so many sonic tricks up their sleeve, even the longer epics on Field Theory never overstay their welcome – for example, the seven-minute ‘WLDNG’, a tripped out barrage of effervescent noise.

A relentless listen, Field Theory maintains its punishing pace right up until its final moments, arguably saving the best for second-last on ‘The Never’, which builds on kaleidoscopic synths, offering a brief reprieve at its organ-driven midway point. The crescendo gives way to closer ‘Softly Breathes’, the album’s token minimalist piece.

Field Theory is another solid release from Melts, expanding on the sonic foundation laid down on Maelstrom. Its constant twists and turns, propulsive rhythms and mesmerising synths can only lend themselves well to the live setting, but on its own, its an album that rewards repeated listens.