When you listen to as many new singles and EP's as this writer does, your ears become accustomed to listening for something, anything, which is a departure from the norm - and this if this doesn't come within the first 30 seconds of a track, well it's going to be an uphill struggle. This is exactly why Swords' debut EP Black Balloon stands out from the rest of the pack, for they are a band completely unafraid to explore the sonic space and textures available to them and the resulting effect is an incredibly satisfying listen.

Black Balloon explodes into life with a track appropriately titled Go and never lets the listener loose from its grip as the drums, bass and vocalist Dianne Anglim's keyboards swirl around the mix. Chasm, a song which has been the recipient of praise from various music publications - and deservedly so - soon gives way to the more modestly charming Special, but it's the title track Black Balloon where Swords really find their groove.

Black Balloon is a very accessible and immediately enjoyable EP from a promising young Irish group. Where some bands might have gotten lost in a mire of keys, bass and drums, Karl Odlum's subtle arrangements and studio wizardry ensured that, first and foremost, the songs are more important than the individual elements of its parts. There is a charm to this EP that most will find irresistible.