Guillemots followed their brilliantly antic and Mercury-nominated debut, Through the Windowpane, with the altogether blander Red in 2008. Happily, Walk the River resuscitates much of the extravagance and euphoria of that first album. Their jangly pop can tilt into ad-friendly, empty effervescence (single "The Basket", for example, certainly doesn't do the album justice), but there are also plenty of more sophisticated tracks; a touch of heartache and bitterness seems to have done them good. Reprising the bitter "play on, play on" lyric of the LP's second track, "Vermillion", the standout is the desperately poignant "Dancing in the Devil's Shoes", where Fyfe Dangerfield's plangent vocals soar against restrained instrumentation.
Hermione writes for the Observer New Review section on books, music, theatre and feminism.