SHIMMERING and jangly upbeat pop - on the face of it, it sounds like the perfect summer record.

But tune into the lyrics and they are mostly dark and gloomy, not at all cheery.

There's a lot going on, and plenty of juxtapositions in style, which has been what has marked Sad-Eyed Puffins out as festival favourites over the past couple of years.

Reaching their debut release, matter-of-factly titled Our Very First EP , they haven't settled into a certain sound or particular genre - they keep people guessing from song to song.

The sentiment on the opening track, Weather Forecast , for example, is the opposite of Michael Fish's infamous proclamation, with lilting lead vocalist Anne McCann turning doomsayer: "Ice caps melting, turning into water; A great flood is gonna come".

And it is immediately followed by a highly upbeat, almost surf rock-style number about becoming a "Space Girl", before main songwriter Chris Garratt takes over with his Lou Reed-like deep drawl for Sour Mash  - better known as Gentleman Jack in the live set, and clearly a song about a fondness for a certain brand of bourbon whiskey.

The substances get a little stronger by track four, as on  Mephedrone he lists the drugs he's dabbled with, but draws the line at the notorious, once legal M-Cat/plant food high. The repeating chorus of "Miaow Miaow" was surely the result of something more than just a late night in the studio?

For this release, their informal, collective-like approach to being a band sees seven musicians play, with Rita Baugh also having a turn on vocals, two bassists sharing the role - Frank Stebbens and Joe Garnett - with Howie Milby's drumming supplemented by Collie Stewart's bongo touches.

All three vocalists are at work on the last song of this five-track release - which will be available to buy from their upcoming local shows and via online retailers - and again combines positive pop with the negative review of Summer 2012 : "Summer was a weekend in April; It rained since then".

It's off-the-wall but totally tuneful and pleasant to listen to - if you don't delve too deeply into the lyrical content, of course.

The Housemartins "on acid", or just the Puffins as their normal selves?

Karl Steel