The first time I listened through A Year Without Words, I spent the entire listen staring into space; specifically, the window of my third-floor flat, through which I can see the sky, the high branches of idle trees and the antenna reaching out of the top of high-rise buildings. It felt appropriate – encouraged, even – by the heady mix of shoegaze reverbs and choruses, and the ethereal fade of those cascading guitar delays, and those charming and repetitive bass guitar slides. The record carries me above the drudge of burdening thought, rising up into those helium fantasies that bounce against the top of my skull: pleasant holiday memories, polite appreciation of the weather. Occasionally the pieces are flecked with the violets and mauves of melancholy (the sombre sway of “Sunset Stripe” for example, or the wandering drum machines of “Jesus Overdrive”), but it’s a mere dab amidst a palette of much more vibrant and utopian shades: the blazing solar yellows of those distorted guitar leads, the dusky oranges of delays curdling into soft, billowing ambience. It’s Cocteau Twins in a blissful snooze; The Jesus & Mary Chain with the blizzard pulled back.