Sound: With run-of-the-mill rock / indie bands favouring the more electro approach nowadays One Night Only, Athlete, Editors to name but a few it raises eyebrows to think of what the Pigeon Detectives, a band so fuelled by spiky riffs and thundering solos, will do in such a climate. Surely the Leeds quartet ditching their signature instruments would be a step too bold? Even the Strokes have been tinkering, after all.
Thankfully, the band know not to strip away a fairly decent formula, and even though in 2008 the band were viewed with such derision, it's remarkable just how refreshing to hear such guitar-oriented rock music is on the ears. Maybe that's deliberate, or merely a lack of ambition, but UP, GUARDS AND AT EM' is bursting with post-punk energy last seen with indie's other guitar survivors', The Futureheads. It's pleasing that a group haven't embraced disappointing electro fodder. // 8
Lyrics: Let's face it, The Pigeon Detectives will never offer anything groundbreakingly emotion when it comes to the lyrics - this is a guitar band, after all. Even the album's title is a reference to the fact chart music is dying, and they're one of the last knowns survivors of the rock format. To their credit, the songs remain joyfully catchy, and they've not lost the knack and the bravado they had with 'Wait for Me'. // 7
Overall Impression: She Wants Me' and its awful pomposity aside, as soon as Lost' kicks in, the Pigeon Detectives build upon their previous two albums with a bit more expansion, and a bit more confidence, which helps UP, GUARDS' elevate from mere meat & potatoes rock to decent stabs of fresh purpose. What Can I Say' is the standout, the kind of thudding, full-on anthem that, admittedly, the band does so well.
Of course, it's far from brilliant, and there's still plenty of room for improvement, but let's face it, the Pigeon Detectives are what The Kooks could be, and in today's musical map where rock bands are falling off the equator, that's actually a good thing.
It's cool to like them again, basically. // 8