Pram The Museum of Imaginary Animals

Pram is a veritable factory of whimsy, almost a musical equivalent of discovering a miscellany from centuries back whose pages overflow with fantastical creatures, strange maladies and mythical realms. Pram's songs this time out are maybe just a bit more straightforward, and maybe they forego their abundant hooks a little more, but they still sound like a toy shop out of an old woodcut illustration suddenly self-animated and orchestrating itself into little rhapsodies of skittering, pirouetting and otherwise scampering sounds, while Rosie Cuckston sings seemingly to make-believe friends like a shy, withdrawn child with a vivid imagination. It's rare that a band can be this eccentric and daring without sounding contrived or wilfully obscure, but there's an abiding organicism at the heart of Pram that keeps them, well, not exactly grounded, but welcoming. If you ever wondered where that music you dreamed of as a child went, you might just rediscover it here. (Merge)