Album Review: Up Guards and at 'Em by The Pigeon Detectives
Average, Based on 4 Critics
New Musical Express (NME) - 60 Based on rating 3/5
[a]The Pigeon Detectives[/a] are one of Britain’s most fashionable bands. [b]Faris Badwan[/b] will listen to little else. Kode 9 has dropped them mid-set. But they’ve ballsed it up by putting that synth intro on the start of the first track here. Those three seconds of stuttering electronica ….
Having arrived at the tail-end of the mid-2000s explosion of ramshackle indie bands, West Yorkshire five-piece the Pigeon Detectives now face the arduous task of trying to regain their place in a music scene which has all but abandoned their contemporaries. Indeed, in the three years since their last record, Emergency, Razorlight, the Kooks, and Kaiser Chiefs appear to have gone AWOL, the Fratellis and Dirty Pretty Things have split up, and the recent record from the View was met with a shrug of indifference. The Detectives' third album, Up, Guards and at ‘Em, therefore, will have to be something pretty special then if they're to survive the mass indie landfill culling brought on by the dominance of urban synth pop.
It’s fair to say that some of Melvin Benn’s mainstage choices for this year’s Leeds and Reading festivals deserved their nods of admiration - booking The National and Friendly Fires third and fourth from top respectively, as well as The Joy Formidable, were brave, applaudable moves. However, the decision to slot The Pigeon Detectives in among the esteemed company of Jarvis, Casablancas and Berninger was the cause of much head scratching. After all, it’s been three years since we heard a squeak from the Leeds band, the last being 2008’s hastily rushed out and misfiring second album Emergency.
The Leeds band’s third album finds them treading water. Mark Beaumont 2011 With The View setting the bar high for indie guitar bands in 2011, and The Wombats likely to do similar, The Pigeon Detectives will have to go some to prove their worth after 2008’s disappointing second album Emergency comprehensively failed to live up to the promise of the Leeds band’s hit-drenched debut, Wait For Me. From She Wants Me, the execrable first track of this third record, you’d dismiss them for having taken the clichéd guitar band ‘reinvention’ route and gone electro, albeit without learning to play their extremely wonky synths first.