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Saturday, March 27, 2010


RED (2008)
320 KBPS

It can be difficult to know how to condition yourself as a Guillemots fan. First there was Through the Windowpane, a great English pop record full of classy melodrama and widescreen elation, then there were the wilfully eccentric live shows, known to descend into mind-boggling bouts of freeform jazz bombast. And now there is Red, yet another altogether different dragon. You can talk about forcing a square where a circle should be, but this is more like teasing a dodecahedron through a drinking straw. And yet with slick feline agility they somehow wriggle through with little resistance. To get a measure of the differences, penultimate track "Don't Look Down" is one of a few that holds a torch for the first record, leading in with the keyboard twinkles and filmic slow pace, but implodes midway like a fully-laden milk float combusting, and comes out the other side like the Annie cast on helium set to a drum 'n' bass beat. Amazingly, it's as palatable as ever. But that's just for starters. "Kriss Kross" is the hitherto undiscovered melding point between 2Unlimited (of brief 90s techno infamy) and The New Radicals' chiming pop, "Big Dog" is bright lights arena R&B, robotic seduction with a Jacko scream at its heart, "Get over It" is glittery, steroid pumped modern glam and "Last Kiss" is Tubular Bells with distorted bass funnelled into a rave anthem. The whole album's a curveball, but the quality of the songs is undimming and maybe we just got a little closer to discovering what Guillemots quintessentially are. Or maybe not.

1. Kriss Kross
2. Big Dog
3. Falling Out of Reach
4. Get Over It
5. Clarion
6. Last Kiss
7. Cockateels
8. Words
9. Standing on the Last Star
10. Don't Look Down
11. Take Me Home

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