Sapporo’s Nessie specialise in pastel-sweet avant-pop with a scientific devotion to finding pleasure spots outside the expected. They give you a quietly determined manifesto of what to expect in the opening Kugutsu, with no note ever landing where you expect it, no shift or melodic phrase falling into a familiar shape, the vocals barely on the human side of vocaloid, the faintest hint of melancholy sentiment permeating the emotionless matt plastic of the immaculate delivery. There’s something disconcerting in the way the delivery and production approach with the soft, edgeless tones of background smooth jazz, while the vocal and instrumental arrangements dance around each other disorientating and dreamlike, notes avoiding the music’s underlying chords, different rhythms overlapping, guitar solos spiralling through the middle, free from the distortion pedal mania that afflicts many of Nessie’s math rock contemporaries but discordant and sending you spinning off balance nonetheless. But while these seven songs never come close to doing anything as vulgar as the familiar, they do so in a way that is nonetheless hypnotic, with a precision and perfectionism that hints at something between Steely Dan and Stereolab at the peak of their Sound Dust softness. It comes with an otherworldliness that is all their own though, insinuating itself with a soothing, accessible demeanour, from a Lynchian alternate dimension where pop music is just done differently to here.