Like the best things in life (roast dinners, sex, jigsaws) Devin Townsend’s albums have always been best enjoyed as an un-fractured whole, but with ‘Transcendence’, he takes that approach to a place that not just requests, but demands the front-to-back listening experience. This is not an album to be dipped into like hummus, to be enjoyed piecemeal, song by song. Listening on shuffle would be sacrilege tantamount to jabbing shards of a Coldplay CD into your ears at random intervals. Sickeningly lush and uplifting, the euphoric waves it produces tickle the skin like a slow, hour-long rise from a warm bath, a sonic hug so comforting, so all-enveloping, it’s like being the yolk in the centre of a scotch egg; warm, protected, delicious. From the comparatively bullish intro of ‘Truth’ through to the inspired closing cover of Ween’s ‘Transdermal Celebration’, the album acts like a sensory deprivation tank, demanding your undivided attention at all times. Waver once and you’ll want to start again to get the full benefit. DTP have long been erring towards a more universal, orchestral sound, and with Devin himself taking a step back this time, here it soars like never before. Though undeniably heavy at times (see ‘Offer Your Light’ for those demanding a blast of old school Hevy Devy), the band spread their feathers far and wide like a gigantic space peacock, drawing inspiration from the symphonic movements of Mozart or Debussy rather than the basic song structures of the charts. Adding icing to the cake are Dev’s personal liner notes, a cathartic three pages of brutal honesty and explanation that put all the songs in context and show Dev to be as eminently fragile as anyone else. They’re so personal and honest, at times it feels like you’re reading his medical records. Put simply, there will not be a more humanly joyous album released this year, in any genre. Open a bottle of wine, turn down the lights and fall in love.