|The Pigeon Detectives
||Up, Guards And At 'Em!
||1 April 2011
||Dance To The Radio
The Leeds quintet known as The Pigeon Detectives release their third studio album Up, Guards and at ‘Em!. This zesty title unwittingly flirts with sarcasm of epic proportions, as the perpetual Soccer AM guests deliver ten tracks of the most bland nonsense heard since Britrock aurally molested the masses.
Having previously sold upwards of half a million units between their debut album Wait for Me (2007) and Emergency (2008), the Pigeons (or the Detectives, I’m really not fussed) swapped Leeds for New York after a brief hiatus. This was presumably to aid with their “crossover” to an American audience.
What was achieved however sounds like the kind of thing the Betty Ford Clinic might prescribe for someone being weaned off good indie-music. This album is musical methadone. It would most likely be delivered twice daily after meals. Then, in the final stage of recovery, the patient would be released with a copy of The Best of Fleetwood Mac; The Panpipe Collection to aid home-recovery.
Musically the album is tame without being offensive. The guitar, bass and drums provide a platform that could at least be built upon by anyone remotely interested in doing so.
Where the album falls down in spectacular fashion is in the lyrics and the vocals of front-man Matt Bowman. It has been a long time since I was accosted by a vocal “performance” so noticeably devoid of genuine sentiment or emotion. Overall it has the kind of delivery so impotent that it would give Ron Jeremy night-terrors.
The band may well have been in-studio in New York, but the vocal takes sound as if they may have been phoned in from the duty-free section of Leeds International Airport. Which I’m reliably informed have very competitive rates on boxes of Stella.
Most of this could be overlooked if the album delivered on tunes and hooks. Needless to say both of these cupboards are as bare as the band’s A4 pads marked “Lyrics Edit/Rewrites”.
How else can you explain choruses such as "You can put my back against the wall, but you won’t take me outside, what are you waiting for?", "I was never lost I just got out of here, and now you won’t lay me down." and “I want to dance with you but my hands are on fire." making the final edit?
In fact the entire album is littered with lines of English, in which I understand each word and yet the meaning of the sentences are utterly lost to me. I have seen actual pigeons deposit more carefully thought out plans on statues in O’Connell Street. I’ll resist a final pun on Pidgin English and move on.
I cannot stress more highly how vacuous and annoying this album is. If none of them could play or sing there would be an excuse, but with such a wealth of talent in the world, most of whom clamber just to be heard for a minute, not sounding interested is the biggest crime of all.
J’accuse le Pigeon Detectives.
- D. Egan