The Physics House Band's 2013 debut EP Horizons/Rapture was intoxicating at worst and mind-bending at best. A fantastical instrumental mix of genres, the six track release was something to decipher and enjoy, as its layers unfolded listen after listen.
After a painful four year wait, the Brighton trio have returned with Mercury Fountain, a collection of nine new tracks to bewilder and entertain, prefaced by a PR blurb written by none other than the respectable Stewart Lee (he knows his stuff).
This new age mini-album is less focused on the raucous than its predecessor and flows like a straight-up post-rock record for a major chunk of its running time. From the looming tones of opener 'Mobius Strip' to the unsettling passage of time on second track 'Calypso 2', there appears to be a new limit placed on the band's ferocity.
'Holy Caves' appears to be a spacious stepping stone to the rocking tumble of 'Surrogate Head' which fails with guitars like the best of the instrumental soundscape builders (for example, And So I Watch You From Afar), before the delicate 'A Thousand Small Spaces' provides some welcome breathing space.
'Obidant' then shakes you violently from this dream in the most "like the old stuff" way possible, as you can almost hear the trio sweating with exertion as the layers of sonic wonder hit your ears. 'Impolex' and 'The Astral Wave' are reminiscent of the like of Battles as they ebb and flow with energy, building up mighty peaks of sound before swiftly deconstructing them.
As 'Mobius Strip II' ends proceedings in a subdued and sophisticated manner, you can't help but feel that this is "intelligent music". Painstakingly constructed layer upon layer to strike the perfect ambience, and telling this coherent but hidden narrative through the nine tracks, The Physics House Band are simply a wonder to behold.