Once upon a time, there was a young man from Dublin called Ciaran Smith. Having spent most of his childhood attempting to forge songs from primitive beginnings, Ciaran eventually gathered two of his pals and recorded the Irish bedroom band soundtrack to 2006, Stay Loose. It was a lo-fi, DIY indie-pop album, ramshackle in places, yet charming because of - not in spite of - its imperfections. Even so, it was clear that Smith still had a way to go before he'd find symmetry in his songwriting - a quality that made his songs appeal to more than just those willing to seek out under-the-radar Irish music.
Fast-forward two short years later to album #2, and it's remarkable to discover that Smith's songcraft, technique and musical discernment has evolved not only dramatically, but apparently naturally - and that he's managed to distil his overwhelming imagination into an album that has something for everyone. White Wonder is a glorious explosion of programmed beats, synths and samples that grab you by the shoulders and sweep you onto the dancefloor of your favourite indie club.
Crayonsmith strike a near-perfect balance between the rickety indie charm of Stay Loose and dynamic, beat-heavy innovation here, with both styles working comfortably side-by-side, and occasionally concurrently. The Grandaddy-esque All the Elders, for example, embodies a frantically-played flurry of bloops and guitar over several simple-but-effective key changes; Anything sees a chugging Weezer-style axe-buzz transformed by a glitchy, dreamy melody and Silver Lining's bombastic, zany bounce is just terrific, unadulterated fun.
White Wonder's gold star is easily reserved for the dynamic, exciting and simply bloody brilliant lead single Lost in the Forest, though - a understated synth-led pop song with a chorus so euphoric, it'll raise a mountain range of goosebumps. This is the sort of music that makes you proud of the flourishing Irish independent scene, chuffed by how far it's come, and excited about what it's yet to bring. Wonderful stuff.