A classically-trained, non-piano-playing lead singer with the most distinctive vocals since Neil Hannon; a set of tight, carefully-considered songs that have always convinced in the live forum, and an absolute gem of a first single; success seemed a certitude for Director from their very inception. Still, would they deliver the all-important debut album with the aplomb of a young Almodovar, or flop listlessly into the ever-growing pile of coulda-beens like an Ed Wood catastrophe? One listen to We Thrive On Big Cities will allay any trepidation: for a first album, this is bloody good. Director display a completely disarming, precocious talent for songwriting - clever chord changes, solid melodies with an occasional zing and self-assured lyrics held together by Michael Moloney's flawless vocals. Standing In My Way's fast-paced jangle slides fluidly between sinister verses and an amiable, bittersweet chorus; Come With a Friend's breezy effervessence bumbles wryly forth, and the winsome atmospherics of mid-paced ballad Big Cities sounds like it's been written by a tour-weary collective with twice the experience of the fresh-faced quartet. On the other hand, album highlight She's Saying Things epitomises the excitement and urgency surrounding Director at present, Moloney's superb, syrupy vocal nuances carrying each track nimbly and fluently. There's a mature balance between dance-floor stompers and thoughtful sonnets that's refreshing to witness from a major-label-signed Irish band - and if all that sounds too good to be true, perhaps it is. If there's one foible concerning Big Cities, it's that first-time producer Stefano Sofia - whilst otherwise doing a stellar job - has made the album's overall feel perhaps a bit too 'clean'; but with songs like menacing stumer Reconnect in their canon, who's checking? There's a palpable sense that We Thrive On Big Cities is far from the best album Director will ever make - give them a few years to flourish and experiment, and they'll be a very important band in the evolution of Irish music. For now, this is a damned good start.