Album Review: Nero Matches Strong Beats With Better Songwriting on 'Between II Worlds'

Threading together dubstep, electro-house and Alana Watson's airy vocals, London dance trio Nero's 2011 debut, Welcome Reality, proved to be a durable entry point -- an EDM album that pays close attention to songcraft as well as synth blare.

Between II Worlds, the act's sophomore ­follow-up, is more finely wrought, even when the hooks are king-sized, ­fleshing out Nero's sound with thicker bass riffs on the clobbering "The Thrill" and filmy strings that climax on the finale, "Wasted." The new textures are cunning enough to grab non-dance ­listeners, but Watson's singing detracts, offering little ­personality of its own; on "Two Minds" she sounds like a Florence Welch ­understudy. Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray's ­production does the most work, their ­tracks lush and subtle, even when the low end sounds ready to cave in the house.