Two years in the making, a cast of seven, twelve songs about hanging out, relationships and being young and having misery fun in the 21st century. It’s Album, the first full-length album from T.Dot fun popsters Hooded Fang.

Without entirely ditching the loosey goosey exuberance of their debut EP, the Fang are now stepping up the song crafting with a greater confidence. This translates into a lesser inclination to throw everything at hand into each track. Consequently, the merits of the song writing are a little easier to appreciate. Even focus on.

Not a great ol' humungous switch in direction from the debut EP, just a studied coolness, and a surer hand with ‘less is more’ arrangements, a touch that’s becoming a rarity in T.Dot indie ‘orchestras”. Stylistically, it’s a nice mix of upbeat pop, indie rock and orchestral folk, kinda in the Ohbijou tradition. Not a far stretch, as the Fangs are known to consort with the Ohbijou crew and there’s one track one the album, Highway Steam, which first appeared on the second Friends In Bellwoods compilation.

But it ain’t necessarily fun times in the Hooded Fang world; vocalist Daniel Lee sees to that with a style hooking up the melodic misery of Morrissey to the art school disaffection of David Byrne, with a dash of Kevin Drew. This whiff of Eighties art rock gives the proceedings a kind of inherited cool, especially as this is not an over-milked sub-genre at this point.

But Hooded Fang aren’t done yet because Daniel doesn’t have it all his own way; when the tune turns to the swinging’n’sunny, that’s when the crew’s other vocalist, Lorna Wright takes control and gives us reason to believe.

Overall, Hooded Fang aren’t interested in building on their sonics so much as consolidating and fine tuning the catchy melodies, sneaky hooks and dual vocals which have brought them this far. And that’s a good thing, as in the process they’re etching out a ‘sound’, y’all.

The guitars could have been mixed a little more forward in spots but overall the production does its job of delivering a very listenable collection of tunes, a number of which, including ‘Straight Up The Dial, ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Younger Day’, have the potential to win this crew new audience.

James Lizzard