Ajimal began as the project of Fran O’Hanlon, a medicine student from Newcastle with a knack for crafting wildly imaginative paeans to youth, science and literature. The songsmith – who utilises a rotating cast of supporting characters to record and play live – has announced he’ll be following up his 2012 debut ‘Footnote to Love ’ with a brand new single entitled ‘This Human Joy’, out 25 March.

Fran delicately attends to pianos; his voice full of childish wonderment, every syllable lovingly caressed as Emily Hoile’s enchanting harp notes begin to flutter like russet leaves swept along on a hopefully melodic breeze. Despite it’s lyrical focus on the positive embrace of life’s mysteries, ‘This Human Joy’ finds Fran plundering an unusual seam of melancholy with eerily looping vocals entwining into shuddering, portentous bass notes.

Ajimal and producer Mick Ross have delved into the same otherworldly soundscapes as Daughter and Bon Iver; smoothing over their more glacial edges with a sympathetic zeal and setting a new benchmark for sensitive pop in 2013 along the way.