Wave Machines' 2009 debut album, Wave If You’re Really There, was a sleeper that can still creep up on people and completely disarm them. Vocalist Timothy Bruzon lent a delicate, falsetto voice to some tunes and a confident, edgy artisté attitude to others, giving Wave If… an intriguing blend of styles and moods. Wave Machines' follow-up LP, Pollen, embraces the Liverpudlians' edgier side, with fewer lightfooted dance numbers. Setting the mood, “Counting Birds” is solemn and gray, with clattering metallic slaps, moaning choruses, and a lumbering, Frankenstein melody; it’s beautiful. Songs like “Home,” “I Hold Loneliness,” and “Pollen” glint with the hollow, empty sounds of destroyed hearts and sad synths (and harmonium and trombones); they feel like the best of ‘80s synth-pop waking from a long dream in the depressed end of the first decade of the 21st century. A handful of tunes, like “Blood Will Roll” and “Animal Skin,” want to be lovely things, but with woozy bits of synths, crackling percussive loops, and bullet-sure snare drums bouncing Bruzon’s disembodied voice around, the prospect of a “fun” time fades to something more introspective. It's rainy-day music of the best kind.