Of all the maximalist pop futurism that’s flowed out of the PC Music camp over the past decade, felicita’s take on the kinetic form stands apart. Melding woozy lullabies with jerking beats and pummeling rave explosions, the London-based artist’s 2018 debut album, hej!, transformed the rubbery pop stylings of their peers into an experimental collage. Over the years, they occasionally veered toward an even more enigmatic approach (see: Pillowese, a dream language inspired by glossolalia they conceived alongside the artist Lydia Ourahmane). On giddy new album Spalarkle, felicita returns to pop-rave mode without sacrificing their taste for abstraction, hopscotching between harsh and soft electronic music to sink into an off-kilter vision of psychedelia. It’s a head-spinning trip of joyfully hyperactive energy and digitized ballads.

Spalarkle thrives when felicita manages the chaos with needlepoint control. The title track, featuring frequent collaborator Caroline Polachek, shreds her operatic voice into ribbons during its shrieking, Alice in Wonderland-riffing chorus: “Alice! Vanish!” Here, felicita plays the Cheshire Cat, pulling out the rug with suddenly accelerating tempos and joyous, pulverizing synth melodies. Keeping with that song’s fairytale inspiration, felicita sews fantastical imagery into many lyrics, which makes room for a mischievous sense of humor. Samples of clucking chickens punctuate the cheerleader stomp on early highlight “Cluck,” in which Kero Kero Bonito’s Sarah Midori Perry sings about “tremendously buff” poultry juiced up on steroids. Later, peals of laughter interrupt the downbeat “ForeS Hopi,” breaking up its undulating flow with a dose of brightness. These unexpected additions add levity along the dizzying journey.

That lightheartedness tempers some of Spalarkle’s more drifting moments, often led by London vocalist Emma Warner. Her chanted vocals form a tranquil palette during “Can You See the Light Over There?,” which felicita interrupts with chittering handclaps and smacking beats. The sense of disrupted quiet continues through “Resistance,” a minimalist ballad in which Warner’s vocals are pitched into the realm of a plaintive digital voice assistant. “Underneath the crying screen, I’ll remember everything,” she sings over crashing waves. Though it’s a left turn, the interlude expresses a mournfulness lurking beneath the otherwise candy-coated exterior.

Felicita tries to balance those two poles throughout Spalarkle. They unspool an effervescent melody and quavering water droplets on the hypnagogic “Afraid” before pivoting to “Beast,” a jagged, menacing hip-hop track featuring frenetic Hong Kong rapper YoungQueenz. The whiplash isn’t as effective during the weaker tracks, like the cartoonish “Riff Raff,” whose bratty vocals and chainsawing guitars feel like self-parody. Yet the interfolded approach allows for pockets of transfixing beauty to emerge even in felicita’s busiest songs. Like the joyously outré “Cluck” or the slow-build trance workout “Sex With Anemone,” whose baffling title is repeated in a hushed whisper until it collapses into a wavy, mesmerizing blur, the best songs on Spalarkle showcase felicita’s sheer delight in toying with opposites to create richly expressionistic electronic music.