For a band with so many people in it (eight, plus many ever-changing temporary members described as the Vermont Collective), Vermont sound remarkably stripped down on their second album. It's like the electro equivalent of an acoustic album, with a synthesiser's lack of explicit musical emotion coupled to a human warmth and humour which keep it all engaging and make the album fun to listen to. Many of the tunes work on repetition and simple, melodic keyboard rhythms which give the sound an almost childish quality; light and playful with a slightly scatty, disorganised feel to it all. The songs vary quite a bit in style, from the regretful acoustic lament of 'Holes' to the more straightforward blazing guitar pop of 'Animals That Eat Out Of Pots', but the album holds together as a whole due to the feel of scatterbrained experimentation and childish enjoyment.
That naive quality to the songs is emphasised by Sabine Zeissig's light, breathless vocal style. Her voice has an fragility and almost-innocence to it, and her delicate tunefulness is counterbalanced beautifully by second vocalist Colin Murphy, whose almost-spoken word delivery has a weariness far removed from Sabine's wide-eyed melodic sweetness. The contrast really, really works, both when used as harmonic counterpointing and, as in third track 'Listen to Me', when the speed of the spoken vocal rattling along under the melody makes your head spin because there's simply too much vocal input being thrown at you for the mind to digest it all at once.
This thoroughly pop album is all dreamy yearning and deceivingly simple-sounding complexity, with a sense of aching slipping out from underneath a seemingly devil-may-care attitude. Vermont have a very good line in taking what should be gentle tunes and then warping them, as when the soft, floating drift of 'Spangle' is suddenly invaded by fuzzing walls of noise and fragments of military drumbeats. Not everything on here quite grabbed me, but for an album full of music the like of which I've not really listened to much of before, Ten Random did a damn good job of making me want to go back and listen again.