Only a fool would count on the second solo album from Efrim Manuel Menuck throbbing with positivity; after all, through his work with Godspeed You! Black Emperor the Montrealais musician has been jointly responsible for some of the glummest politicised post-rock of the past 20 years.

Duly, such expectations are dashed from the off as Black Flags of Thee Holy Sonne sets out the tools Menuck has chosen to deploy: modular synth, giddy sound design and desperate vocals, the whole shebang fed through a mangler of claustrophobic effects.

In its maker’s words P****** Stars was inspired by the romance between US TV presenter Mary Hart and the son of a Saudi oil billionaire, Mohammed Khashoggi, but thanks to the opaqueness of Menuck’s lyrics, his masterly grasp of texture and the intense pessimism that dogs proceedings from start to finish it is nigh impossible to conceive of the album as anything other than a reaction to the political climate in which it was birthed.

And while titles such as The Lion-Daggers of Calais and A Lamb in the Land of Payday Loans reflect Menuck’s unsmiling outlook, it would be glib to overlook the extraordinary sonic achievements that predominate, grime and grit coalescing in absorbing (dis)harmony.