Aviator : Omni

There is a very insightful recent interview on Louder than War in which Pete Wilkinson scans across his brilliant career, which includes a semi-legendary album with Shack, five records with Cast and a stint in Echo and the Bunnymen. The article builds a frame for understanding Omni, Pete's latest band Aviators' fourth album; but if you want to skip that reading, no worries - you don't need past reference points, or to understand influences, to mark Omni out as a musical triumph after one listen.

Unlike his previous projects Aviator is definitely Pete Wilkinson's creative vehicle, but it is also equally a band - especially the notable contribution of Mark Neary (who also produced this recording). Root around online for a few minutes and you soon find Wilkinson is very often fulsome in applauding other bands and musicians. It is clear he still draws inspiration from wherever there is past or present magic - which has found full expression in Omni being a spectacularly well realised collection of songs, as absorbing musically in its own way as Cure albums of the early eighties managed to be.

To shuffle out a few highlights from the subtly psychedelic pack - both The Darkest Light and Letter to D are slow and flawlessly majestic, White fly clever, clipped and rhythmically bright and Drowned in deceit has a sardonic lyric buoyed on an irrepressible drum beat. As a joyful close to proceedings As long as it's not me is a compelling piece of elegant, drifting dream-pop.

The songwriting here may have come out of a personal dark period, giving the sound a harder edge than previous offerings, but listened to end-to-end Omni is a slow rolling, elating experience; no cheap holiday in somebody else's misery - it is full of a yet hopeful spirit and is the unexpected album of the year so far.