If Twenty One threw a splash of eighties passion on the prog-rock experimentalism of the Mystery Jets' debut then Serotonin, with it's Talk Talk-esque cover, is an eighties-soaked emotional Molotov cocktail.
The trade-off is most apparent on second track 'It's Too Late', the first proper ballad the band have ever indulged in. And an indulgence it is - one that has turned off some reviewers and may alienate some older fans. How you feel about this one track will probably affect much of your view of Serotonin itself - it's either an unimaginative mainstream retread or, in it's unashamed honesty and willingness to leave aside unnecessary agendas, an irresistible emotional anchor for the album that lets the boys love for the eighties bask in centre stage.
And maybe BlackPlastic is just a sucker for a romantic agenda, but we can't help but plum for the latter. To accuse Serotonin of lacking variety would be fair, yet the result is an album that feels in many ways even tighter than its predecessor if less exciting. From the running-so-fast-you-might-trip opening of 'Alice Springs', with its rousing chorus of "I'd stand in the line of fire for you / I'd bend over backwards for you / I'd do anything that you want be to do / 'cos I don't have nothing if I don't have you my love" this is an album wearing its heart on its sleeve:
Sometimes some people love some other people. And the Jets have clearly fallen head over heels somewhere along the line because every song on here deals with this most basic of emotions in one way or another.
On the whole it's a storming success - the beauty being in the variety of takes on love that the album illustrates. 'Flash A Hungry Smile' is bumbling and hopeless bare-cheeked lust. Title track 'Serotonin' feels like coming up from underwater - the drugs analogy is obvious but BlackPlastic will place faith in the reality being that this song is noting the similarity of love to drugs, and celebrating the former's natural ability to mimic the latter rather than the other way round.
Best of all is 'Show Me The Light' - a celebratory anthem-to-be complete with bouncing house beat. It's the sound of boundless enthusiasm: sure, things may not work out... But then, they might, right? It's so blinkered and keen that it's bloody difficult not to be won over.
Serotonin may feel like a curveball after the maturity and relative subtlety of Twenty One. It is certainly less ambitious but it's inability to do anything other than express just how much it has a crush on you is pretty charming. If you've ever gone a bit gooey over someone you may find it tough to resist the feeling of Serotonin.
Serotonin is out now on Rough Trade, available from Amazon.co.uk on CD, LP and MP3 [affiliate links].