Aussie duo, Death Bells, have relocated to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, and their third album is primarily concerned with their new home. However, there’s very little neon to be found (unless it’s flickering above a dodgy motel) and the perpetual sunshine is passed over in favour of seedy darkness.

As their name would suggest, Death Bells are at the gothier end of the post-punk spectrum, aiming for Joy Division but landing somewhere between The Murder Capital and U2. The album starts very strongly with Passerby that adds some synths to their traditional melodies, as Will Canning’s spindly approximation of Ian Curtis gets some muscle thanks to his Aussie drawl.

Lifespring has a touch of noir about it, adding to the feeling that the Drive soundtrack may have been in mind during these sessions and Canning’s vocals reach their deadpan peak on A Better Resolution. They’re unconcerned almost to the point of parody, but it works. Last Days feels like the skeleton of a Fontaines DC song (another Irish comparison?), with ironic detachment replacing Grian Chatten’s wild-eyed intensity, but still shows they’ve got the chops to construct solid tunes.

The album feels a bit frontloaded as the last few songs descend into the treacly arena-rock bombast that the first half avoided admirably. Eternity Street especially wouldn’t be out of place for mid-era U2, or perhaps even latter-day Silversun Pickups. The pseudo-title track that closes the album ends things with a bit of a whimper as Canning sings of his conflicted feelings while trying to move on, though the overly dramatic female backing vocals are nicely weird touch to liven things up.

That the songs here are concise is a plus (only a couple over 4 minutes and only 35 in total), as it helps maintain a garagey feel rather than meandering into alt-rock hinterlands. But when the album is that short and the last 10 minutes still feel like a slog, it’s not a great sign. However, there’s plenty to enjoy here, especially on the first half and there’s no reason to suspect this pair won’t hone their craft moving forward.