Four years on from their unexpected Mercury Prize win, Edinburgh trio Young Fathers still refuse to fit in. They may have dabbled with the mainstream in their utter dominance of the soundtrack to last year's T2: Trainspotting, but as Cocoa Sugar confirms, their uncompromising vision is still very much intact.
With the world being stuck in a state of dissonance, Young Fathers seem all set to come out firing on all cylinders with lyrical slams in "Toy," "Tremolo," and a particularly scornful "Wow." But the three-headed vocal unit of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham "G" Hastings instead come oblique, spitting fluid declarations that are far more abstract and open to interpretation than assumed.
The production, on the other hand, finds the band reaching new heights: "Wow" imagines a hybrid of Suicide's pulsating drone-punk and soulful doo-wop, "Lord" is a gospel hymn lifted by a fuzzy, synthesized crescendo, and the scrubby, Afrobeat oscillations of "Turn."
With Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers are still pushing the envelope and thinking outside the box, but more importantly they are doing all of this within pop's limitations. This is a fluid expression of both jarring and accessible concepts that hit you square in the jaw. And like the two previous albums, these Scots still sound like nothing else out there. (Ninja Tune)