I thoroughly enjoyed The Leisure Society's debut "The Sleeper", but the follow-up "Into The Murky Water" didn't quite hit the same heights, so this third album is a very welcome release indeed, as it is excellent. It's one of those albums that keeps the listener's interest throughout, doesn't contain any filler and has more than a handful of stand-out tracks that keep you coming back to the album again and again. It is actually quite difficult to categorise the type of music that The Leisure Society produce. I would hesitate to call it "pop" of any description because it's the type of music that, whilst it could easily make the playlist of a station like Radio 2, simply wouldn't trouble the singles chart. You couldn't call it "easy listening" either (although it is certainly very gentle on the ear) because it is miles away from the likes of Michael Buble (thankfully!). They remind me of Belle and Sebastian without the lofty tweeness, or, perhaps, The Beautiful South without the pithy lyrics. Some songs are reminiscent of Noah and the Whale's later material ("Fight For Everyone", for example), only much better, but their eclectic nature in terms of instrumentation and arrangements are one of their strengths and the fact that it is so difficult to categorise the music can only be a good thing.
Although this is an excellent album overall, my favourite tracks on "Alone Aboard The Ark" are plentiful. "Tearing The Arches Down" (although it reminds me a little of Queen's "Drowse") is absolutely superb, disjointed guitar solo and all, "All I Have Seen", is a dreamy little waltz-time gem, with a beautiful string section, a melody-line reminiscent of The Housemartins and a gorgeous climax to the track and "Everyone Understands" is a jaunty number that could easily have come from the pen of Neil Hannon. Echoes of The Divine Comedy can also be heard on the excellent "One Man and His Fug", a catchy baroque pop delight, the dramatic "Forever Shall We Wait", with a slight Latin lilt almost sounds like a piece from a musical and the wonderfully hazy "We Go Together" is a perfect end-of-the-evening anthem, complete with a lovely vocal theme to sing along to. Recorded in Konk studio in London, thanks to their friendship with Ray Davies, they have managed to release an album just as strong as their brilliant début which is beautifully arranged and performed, features Nick Hemming's wonderfully crafted songwriting throughout and is a rather pleasurable experience from start to finish. If the lyrics has just a little bit more of an edge to them, they'd probably become one of my favourite bands, but, quite honestly, they're rather good as they are and I'd recommend this one highly.