CD: Guillemots, Through the Window Pane


Is that pronounced "gillmots" or "gee-mo"? Arguments rage, but after three attempts to finish their debut, Birmingham's most oddly named band make the classic mistake of all new major-label signings following a bidding war. It's a wonder any of their songs emerge intact from the production soufflé engendered by the label's big studio, which provided everything from school playground noises to recorded seagulls. But emerge they do - both because of and in spite of singer Fyfe Dangerfield, who doesn't always have the hooks on which to hang his vocal gymnastics. When it works, Coldplay-type tunefulness takes a left turn, recalling the likes of Talk Talk and David Sylvian. Through a Window Pane recalls Simple Minds at their most dizzying, before they became overblown. The 12-minute-long Sao Paulo has an Elton-sized chorus but a bloated coda. A microcosm of a debut that, frustratingly, juggles promise and excess.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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