Welcome to a new feature here at Room Thirteen, uncovering the undiscovered classics from yesteryear, giving exposure to collections of songs that should have been massive, but for some reason just never saw the light of day…until now…
Obviously that’s not what this article is, but at times when listening to ‘Red’ you think it could be. The other thought that goes through the mind is, what a bloody good record collection this lot must have!
‘Through The Window Pain’ made a huge impact, catapulting Guillemots into a position of one of British alternative music’s most loved bands. Then came the challenge, faced by so many, how to follow it up? By their own admission, Guillemots’ aim was to make a collection of great pop songs, and on the evidence of the top twenty hit single ‘Get Over It’, which has received a lot of airtime on Radio 1, it’s mission accomplished so far. But what of the other ten tracks?
There’s a lot of eighties pop flashbacks on this album, none more so than opener ‘Kriss Kross’, that combines film score style strings and dirty disco meets rock beats with a big eighties chorus. The heavy dance influence continues with ‘Big Dog’, a slightly camp disco track which also sounds like the N.E.R.D boys have got their mucky paws on it. Further into the record, when the beat to ‘Last Kiss’ kicks in you’d be forgiven for expecting the bloke from the Bodyrockers to pop up to remind anyone who might have forgotten that he “likes the way you move”. Comparisons to Basement Jaxx can be drawn here too, as Guillemots again enter into the world of dance music as if they’ve been making it for years.
As well as the dance inspired offerings, there’s a nod or two to the world of Motown, not least in the excellent ‘Words’. The finest of this kind though comes early on, with ‘Falling Out Of Reach. Initially it’s a welcome appearance of an acoustic track, something fans of Damien Rice or Ray Lamontaine would like, but it builds to a powerful Motown conclusion and could be this album’s signature tune in months to come. If commercial radio playlist compilers have an imagination, and more importantly, decide to use it…I pause for effect here…this song could make Guillemots one of the bands of 2008, and by Christmas time we’ll all be sick of the sound of them in the same way many were with The Zutons ‘Valerie’. I wouldn’t bet on it though.
‘Take Me Home’ is a somewhat predictable ending, but in a good way. Lighters at the ready everyone for the slowest track on the album, one of plenty on ‘Red’ which will be great live.
Not all the tracks on this album have hooks that are instantly catchy, but for the most part ‘Red’ is a very impressive, and will be more many a surprising listen. Certainly an early contender for the end of year lists.