The Van Allen Belt Superpowerfragilis

Having been given the nod from Julian Cope, who endorsed their orchestral weirdness, the Van Allen Belt only hint at what kind of music they make by calling their second album Superpowerfragilis. Subtitle How I Learned to Stop Caring and Love the Drug is a little clearer. Yet this isn't your typical trippy, psychedelic music ― this is unique. Their trick is to combine John Barry-esque cinematic scores with the sweet vocals of Tamar Kamin (who has more than a touch of Shirley Bassey about her) in a way that initially sounds very conventional. But upon closer inspection, the lyrics are incredibly bizarre and surreal, completely at odds with the music. And then that music begins to veer off on strange tangents and do unexpected things before inevitably reaching a pleasing cacophony. This is epic in every sense of the word, and rather splendid. (Independent)