What do you do when you get older and wiser and - frankly - better? Don't ask me about the last two, but if you're Tigercats, then you hole yourselves up in Soup Studios and make an album of such subtle genius that it makes your debut pop splash sound, at times, naive.
'Mysteries' is an album of understated scope and vision. Sure, underneath the measured brilliance of the songs here lies a pulsating pop heart, but there are huge differences compared with Tigercats' 2012 debut 'Isle of Dogs'. The addition of Allo Darlin''s Paul Rains could have had something to do with this, but maybe not. Maybe this band has done what so many others fail to; they've grown to polish what they already had and turn into into something a lot of more fulfilling for everyone concerned.
If 'Isle of Dogs' was your first, thrilling year of living in a big city, then 'Mysteries' is that difficult second one. There's world-weariness at work here, especially on tunes such as 'Wheezer', which sounds like a prime take from Architecture in Helsinki's excellent 2005 album, 'In Case We Die'. "I can't go a day without you!" sings Duncan Barrett as the horns (supplied by none other than demi-god Terry Edwards) and the keys fall over his head.
Other downbeat thrillers include 'To Sad to Tell You', all minor chords and longing, which explodes into righteous indignation now and again thanks to Rains' superb guitar playing. It ends of Barrett's stream of consciousness vocals and is pretty wonderful.
Every cloud, and 'Sleeping on the back seat' is the album's real pop gem. Telling tales of life on the road, this whirligig of a song is perfect. Rains again stars as his guitars spirals up and down in time with a story of longing, endless journeys and... singing to the radio with the car windows open. It might not have the instant hit of, say, 'Full Moon Reggae Party', but it's probably a better song.
'So Haunted' perhaps haunts back to 'Banned at the Troxy' from 'Isle of Dogs' (in style if nothing else), but paints such a vivid picture of claustrophobic frustration that by the time Rains' discordant solo comes in and out that you're pretty much immersed.
We all grow up, of course. But not many grow up as gracefully as this. Tigercats have clearly poured a lot of themselves into 'Mysteries', and the result is an often-revealing, soul-bearing exercise in perfect pop.
'Mysteries' is out on 2nd February on Fortuna Pop!