Live: Menacing Lullabies & Brazen Frenzies. Sleep Party People, Buffalo Bar.

If the stereotypically gelid Scandinavian climes were to increase a negligible fraction of a degree every time one of its acts or artists were interrogated as to why they'd opted to articulate their deepest (and in many cases darkest) sing-song secrets via the grotesquely universal medium that the English lingo has irrefutably become, the temperatures would be veritably Bahaman. Arguably Nordic musical outpour would be diluted, perhaps infused with a Balearic lethargy; the place would be filled with pallid Brits; the exchange rate would in all likelihood descend further into absurdity. Brian Batz thankfully doesn't really buy into this concept of hacking out and trading off the mother tongue in order to sing a more accessible argot. In fact Batz doesn't really concede to convention in any way whatsoever...

His sophomore full-length behind the guise of Sleep Party People, We Were Drifting On A Sad Song, provided a masterclass in musical democracy as it were with his heavily, if meticulously deformed vocals merely serving as yet another instrument within already-unfathomably intricate weaves and oneiric wafts of cloudy lusciousness. Although he may have been manipulating both his voice and the English language itself, it was logically warped beyond human recognition for the most part. His approach toward anonymity too here combines to unpretentious and potent effect: whilst such concept has been quite voguish of late (see Swede Jonna Lee to tie up a loose end, for instance) Batz' presence is if not inappreciable then initially indiscernible. Playing wide stage-right behind the wilted foam ears of the customary bunny masks, with no introductions post-cutesy team huddle Batz' shying away from the plaintive, if ultimately alluring headlights of celebrity – however relative – is patent. As leporine imitations flop and bound endearingly, it is the music that is therefore afforded the pedestal from which it may speak the poignant oration; motion the elaborate gesturing; administer its addictive stupefaction. It is the freshly excavated carrot still caked in flecks of muck that attracts and causes all to helplessly fall down the rabbit hole that the Buffalo Bar may for one night only be considered.

And it proves one night further removed from our own crippling reality than Axl Rose's aberrant headspace. If that sounds like an abhorrent place to be, it's meant as just about the greatest compliment of all for if music be the window through which our childish inner beings may fly fancifully toward fairytale escapism then Batz be the best man to fling it wide open. Opening up, as does We Were Drifting On A Sad Song, with the tranquil sway of A Dark God Heart and the insistent crooked pop pound of Chin each crisp juxtaposition between the soporific and the shit-faced is sharply accentuated with guitars whisked to the foreground of these otherworldly sounds. Melancholic Fog too sees its misty vulnerability intensified to stunning impact, stunning being the operative word in its every definition. When placed beside the title-track however – which tonight sounds like the most vivid of supernovas smattering into one another only to detonate in mellifluous invigoration – you're quite honestly left wondering how these miraculous songs of sorts may slip into the same aeon; let alone evening. Heaven Is Above Us comes across as Michael Andrews score seeping out from the rubble of shattered turbines and although masked (and therefore expressionless beyond the macabre grins etched onto each false face) it's pumped up with enough orchestral emotivity to make Michael Nyman blush.

Thus menacing lullabies shush brazen frenzies, the evening imbued with a madcap precariousness as though these four were jacked up on the old mercury – coincidentally a planet from which they could just as conceivably hail as Earth on this sort of evidence. However that they go blogospheric without ever so much as even mildly overindulging is testament to their demonstrated restraint; their striking ability to harness a quite idiosyncratic blend of melancholic euphoria. The odd slip and crack in Batz' childish vocal manoeuvres prompts the recollection of the reality that they're human after all although in some adjacent one, somewhere, they're bloating the top ten and not just the bowels of Highbury Corner.

The man behind the mask eventually emerges. "London, you've been fucking amazing!" he gushes and with Batz immediately recognisable for the first time his impassioned affirmation rings loud, lucid and, ultimately, sincere. He too has been nothing short of "fucking amazing" and if Get Free may be the track of the year thus far with Batz' We Were Dreaming On A Sad Song treading fine lines toward the LP accolade then tonight's been as good as it's got live in London.