Indie rock act One Cure for Man originally emerged as the passion project of English artist James Parkinson in 2009. After working with a few different band members, the founding frontman decided to go it alone in 2012. His 2013 debut album, Serenade of the Damned, received praise from the BBC and started him on the path to success. Now, he’s back with an eleven track sequel entitled Gods & Toys.

It opens with the energetic riff and lively vocals of “The Freedom”. This upbeat and accessible pop/rock piece races along rousingly and maintains a merry mood through to the bright bass that begins “Europe Is Close”. Another sunny song ensues as it dances forward upon amiable instrumentation and vivacious vocals.

The warm riff that gets “Sleep Prince” going bears an uplifting edge that persists into the relaxing refrain of the verse. This is followed by an affecting chorus full of feeling and fervour, which makes for an enlivening effort ahead of the ethereal music and melody of “The Lost”. “Blood Rain” begins with vivid vocals next, which resonate ahead of an adept guitar solo. The pace is purposeful but pleasant as the music stays sanguine and stirring amid soothing singing.

“Gods & Toys” is a gentle acoustic endeavour that stays restrained and relaxing through emotional instrumentation and a heartfelt harmony. The outcome is an engrossing ballad, before “1000 Stars” builds absorbingly. From here, guitars grow gradually behind a sedate yet intoxicating serenade to forge a touching tune that enthrals throughout.

“Hazel” is a poignant piece that showcases some extremely soft and enticing instrumental work on the way to the playful percussion of “Hold Me Back”. Some gleeful guitars soon join in to thrill before vibrant vocals sail off smoothly across it all. It’s an affable anthem, the sound of which is consistently cordial.

“Always There for You” manages to be an urgent undertaking without abandoning the delicate demeanour of its predecessors. “Song for Infinity” skips into industrious instrumentation and vigorous vocals afterwards to bring things to a fervent finish.

This is a spirited sophomore record by One Cure for Man. It remains active and animated all the way through, exhibiting a collection of colourful and compelling compositions. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being unable to find at least one track that they enjoy here. Check it out on Bandcamp now.

Graduate of NUI Maynooth’s Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there’s anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it’s writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com