Dark progressive pop-rock is the kind of music favoured by Finland's Neil Alien. Led by singer-songwriter Jarkko Tiusanen, this talented sextet have mastered the art of sprawling, slow burners; rich in bleak atmosphere. Some of their success is contributed by the use of two keyboard players but the goose bumps become more noticeable when Tiusanen and Pirita Söderholm sing in harmony: the former with a bruised baritone, the latter providing the sweet counterpoint. This heady mixture ensures that 'Nine On' and 'Ever Even' are ready-made anthems for the terminally bruised. Tiusanen also reveals his endearing, fragile side on the tender ballad 'Unspoken'. All things considered, this is the ideal accompaniment for those who always see the glass as half-empty.