If only everything in life was as reliable as The Experimental Pop Band. Albums are turned out roughly once every two years and their consistency in quality puts many others to shame. 'Tarmac & Flames', their fourth long player, sees them maintain their gift in killer grooves and gritty story-telling. Sometimes this grittiness is a little too much to bear; the graphic nostalgia narrated on 'Crow Ventura' in particular. That apart, it's excellent music highlighted at the very beginning by 'Retro Folf Suckers' which coaxes an almost tearful performance from the usually sardonic Davey Woodward. Elsewhere there's the irresistible languid rock of 'The Hippies Don't Know', the Western ballad 'Desert Me', whilst the title track and 'Ski Machines' are great alternative pop-rock songs which would surely be hits if this were a younger, better looking band. Just enjoy them as they are; a bitter, twisted - and of course very experimental - pop band.