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I'm actually surprised I've never given Guillemots a post of their own, I've mentioned Fyfe's solo album a couple of times and I picked Guillemots as one of my bands to see at The Great Escape 2011 (I never actually made it to see them, instead I saw EMA play to about 50 people) but this is the first time I've covered just them, sorry for the delay!
Their debut EP 'From The Cliffs' blew me away back in early 2006, I first saw them play KCLSU in March that year (supported by the incredible Misty's Big Adventure) and proceeded to see them six or seven times leading up to Glastonbury 07, I was in love. They followed the EP (if you've not got it, get it - "Over the Stairs", "Cats Eyes", "Who Left The Lights Off, Baby?", "My Chosen One" - all excellent) with a breathtaking first album 'Through The Windowpane'.
It was simply stunning, most obviously perhaps with tracks carried over from the EP, the joyous "Trains to Brazil" and "Made Up Lovesong #43". The latter must be one of the most beautiful songs of the last ten years. The album was more than the sum of those two parts though, with excellent numbers such as the title track, "We're Here" and the albums epic closure "São Paulo", which at eleven minutes long is an emotional journey well worth taking.
From that same era were two utterly wonderful demo's, I'm not sure what's become of them, they're worth tracking down because they are two of my favourite Guillemots tracks, the aching beauty of "Cold Cool Moon" and "Sea Out", one of the most spine-tingling piano ballads you are ever likely to hear. Also from their prolific early period check out "By The Water" with Aristazabal on vocals and "The Rising Tide", both from the 'Of the Night EP'.
All that made it quite a surprise that I never connected with the follow-up 'Red'. "Kriss Kross", "Falling Out Of Reach" and a few over tracks aside, I just found it too eclectic for my tastes, the band are exceptional musicians as ever, but I don't know, I just didn't get it.
Anyway, that's enough reminiscing, the reason for this post is to tell you that I am back in love with the band. Their third album 'Walk The River' (buy) is wonderful, if predominately washed in a melancholic gloom (though if you scanned the tracks I've picked as favourites, that seems to be my favourite!). The openers really pull you in, "Walk The River", "Vermillion" and in particular "I Don't Feel Amazing Now", which is their most sumptuous ballad since that first album. "The Basket" is great too, fuzzy guitars mean it's a departure from those openers and it's a direction I'm all for.
What prompted this lesson through my history of Guillemots releases was not to prepare you for an exam, but to tell you that they are soon to release their excellent new single "I Must Be A Lover" (out 3rd July), you can watch / listen below. Do that, it's definitely the track that lets the most sunshine in from the album and is as captivating a pop song as you'll hear this year, climaxing with a joyous, uplifting chorus.
Here's the video, Fyfe is wearing a nice(?) suit and has had a haircut too (perhaps the John Lewis money has come through?!), check out the back steps at the end too:
Guillemots - I Must Be A Lover (single edit) by Guillemots
Trains to Brazil by Guillemots
Kriss Kross by Guillemots