Musical responses to the pandemic have been diverse. Many artists took the opportunity for quiet reflection, producing intimate, introspective pop to capture the feeling of house-bound solitude. Others chose to express the toll the lockdowns have taken on them through blistering, cathartic rock.

Piranha Rama have taken an entirely different approach. The Virginia-based 12-piece collective have followed up their 2019 sophomore project with an LP brimming with life, enthusiasm and an eagerness to connect. Omniscient Cloud Cover is a whimsical, vibrant record that joins the band’s roster of razor-sharp, inventive indie pop albums.

Effervescent opener Daylight sets the tone for the album with slinking Hawaiian guitar, bubbling electronics, breezy flute, and radiant vocal harmonies. With John Sizemore’s crisp, sparkling production, every note seems to bounce out of the mix, creating a tingling, spritzing array of sounds.

The bounding, cheeky, country-leaning single A Door is next, before the album eases into the languid, liquid psychedelia of Water, You Thinking, vocalist Chrissie Lozano’s elongated syllables smudged by the murky wash of synths and guitar. A cold, bracing gush of air sweeps the deep, thrumming synths that pulse through Placate. The track builds, layer upon layer, until slick saxophone and funky, staccato guitar have livened up the initially stark song.

Continuing the darker tone, Gold in the Sand mingles ominous backing vocals, nimble, flighty flute, and stormy guitar. Rabbit Moon is even more atmospheric, its slow strums of guitar instantly calling up the tense shootouts of Western films. Tim Falen’s rolling percussion paces out a funereal march and a classical Spanish trumpet delivers a stirring lament, while the skulking guitar is a solitary, shadowy presence in the desolate soundscape.

But the clear high point of the album is the magnificent single Golden Blues. Bolstered by a beefy guitar riff and a killer brass section, the track considers the loneliness of our times despite technology making communication superficially much easier. ‘We may pretend we’re in the golden age, / I’m afraid we’re stuck with the golden blues,’ Lozano sings, and Bob Miller’s trumpet cries out like a feral animal trying to escape captivity.

Harking back to their roots in bold, bombastic rock, the band close out the record with the explosive Time Being. Backed by gritty guitars, wailing horns and screeching harmonica, this exhilarating, head-banging rock and roll number brings another immaculate album from Piranha Rama to a close all too soon.