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The Pigeon Detectives – Up, Guards And At ‘Em!

Nichola Eastwood


I have to confess The Pigeon Detectives are one of those bands who have largely slipped under my radar over the years.  It’s with no small amount of regret I admit this, especially when you take into account that these are the guys who produced the downright catchy Take Her Back, I’m Not Sorry and This Is An Emergency.  New album, Up, Guards And At ‘Em! is the third instalment from the Leeds troupe and one listen has me sincerely repenting my former negligence. 

She Wants Me opens proceedings on this much anticipated record (the bands’ first since their hiatus following 2008’s Emergency).  The track as a whole is reminiscent of psychedelic pop circa The Stone Roses, with Matt Bowman’s vocals exuding a distinctly Ian Brown feel.  It’s a low key but impressively mature start to this ten song collection.  Lost keeps the retro vibe which, it has to be said, the band do incredibly well.  Matt’s vocals are well suited to this vintage sound and Lost provides the first of many catchy choruses to come. What Can I Say? is adorably downbeat, a sugar coated guitar riff so sweet it could give you tooth ache and drums that are barely a whisper. 

Need To Know This has an eighties flavour with its quirky guitar and Matt belting out an angst ridden chorus that will doubtlessly have emo kids everywhere frothing at the mouth.  First single, Done In Secret, has a scuzzy, garage sound with guitar that wouldn’t look out of place sitting amongst The Strokes’ back catalogue.  What You Gonna Do? is more akin to the bands’ earlier sound, meaner and more alternative rock than psychedelic pop.  Expect it to hit indie dance floors like a plague in the near future.  Go At It Completely is set to join The Pigeon Detectives ever growing list of indie anthems, with a chorus that plonks itself right up there with the likes of This Is An EmergancyI Don’t Know You is the weirdly mellow end to this latest offering.  After the more rock infused latter half of the album this track is more in keeping with the retro sound we’re not just as accustomed to hearing from the band. It’s a haunting conclusion, picking up only for Matt to vent spleen before making a return to its former waltzing oddness.

Up, Guards And At ‘Em! is certainly a different direction for the six lads from Leeds and in this case it works to their advantage.  The bands’ sound has grown up a lot over their two year break and it shows on this record.  It’s possibly the most accomplished and diverse we’ve seen them yet.  Up, Guards And At ‘Em! is not to be overlooked, do so and miss one of the finest albums so far this year.