When singing about being taken by benign space aliens to their sun-dappled world, you can get away with taking the high road. It works for Scottish quintet Aberfeldy on its debut LP, Young Forever, when background-voxers Ruth Barrie and Sarah McFadyen go both nasal and stratospheric for a line about “interflight coordinates for Heliopolis.” It’s a little goofy, sure, meant to approximate the aliens’ speaking voices à la the Byrds’ “CTA-102,” but it’s the closest this bunch of regular guys and gals ever gets to being really out there, man. Lead vocalist Riley Briggs sometimes takes a similar approach, most notably on the disc’s opening lyric. But if he’s imitating anything, it’s utopians, not E.T.s: “I love everyone/Everybody underneath the sun/ I think you’re all the most amazing fun.” And if he sounds a tad forced, so be it: It’s difficult to sustain that kind of optimism for 37-plus minutes, and to Briggs and his bandmates’ credit, they don’t really try. Two tracks later, their definition of love has expanded to include a “two-faced liar” and “a good way to lose a friend” (“Love Is an Arrow”). Later, mixed in among the to-be-expected heartsick paramours, there’s the shell-shocked break-up refugee for whom alcohol is the only route to a good night’s sleep (“Tie One On”) and the knows-he’s-kinda-creepy waitress-obsessing gink of “Vegetarian Restaurant” (“Like the way that you shell the peas/Only wish you were shelling me”). The disc still leaves you feeling optimistic, though, most likely because of the sound of the thing: soft arrangements, largely chimey instrumentation, and reliable coed harmonies. Hoping for something a little more adventuresome from a group whose potential jam-session permutations include glockenspiel/organ, glockenspiel/ bass, and, um, glockenspiel/glockenspiel is probably beside the point, but the sound holds together well over a dozen tracks, and even the frequent peals of Jim Sutherland’s bells don’t interfere too much with the darker moments. The sun may not always be shining in the world of Young Forever, but it usually sounds that way anyhow. —Joe Dempsey