CD: Guillemots, Red

Pop (Polydor)

Within a few bars of their second album beginning, it's made abundantly clear that Guillemots believe firmly that more can only be more. A burst of Bollywood pastiche gives way to crunching glam guitars, electronic squiggles, a disco beat and a vocal melody straight out of a Lloyd Webber musical. This strategy continues throughout Red: it is the sound of a band pulling out all the stops. This is not necessarily a success. Guillemots hurl themselves enthusiastically in all directions at once, but rarely land on their feet; good ideas emerge occasionally, but are smothered at birth, and the band's obsession with taking a musical left turn every 30 seconds means they end up chasing their own tail. Songs such as Get Over It are full of hooks in search of a point; frontman Fyfe Dangerfield, whose vocals are somehow simultaneously preening and galumphing, is no help on this point. Moreover, the relentless maximalism loses its novelty with the realisation that all it really signifies is an unhealthy devotion to 1980s big pop.


Alex Macpherson

The GuardianTramp

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