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The Pigeon Detectives - We Met At Sea (Album Review)

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 Written by Graeme Marsh

Having sold over 500,000 albums since their formation in 2004, The Pigeon Detectives have accumulated a strong fanbase consisting of a (mainly) youth element, as their songs generally tackle issues that youngsters can easily relate to. New offering 'We Met At Sea', released on the Cooking Vinyl label, continues this trend, with claims of the band having abandoned their ‘polished indie-rock sound’ for something more unpredictable and real.

The band burst onto the scene with a supporting slot on fellow Leeds indie rockers The Kaiser Chiefs tour in 2006; the 2007 debut album 'Wait For Me' was then well received and the band enjoyed Radio 1 backing in the shape of various DJ’s, subsequently ensuring sufficient airplay to raise their profile considerably.

A further 2 albums followed ('Emergency' in 2008 and the curiously titled 'Up, Guards And At ‘Em!' in 2011) but the formula began to wear thin and sales started to decline as the band failed to progress their early promise, with both albums receiving far from glowing reviews. Despite having a ridiculous name (stories of the origins of which vary considerably), the boys remain on the outskirts of most peoples radars, being just another of those irritatingly similar indie guitar bands of which there are way too many. This, then, could well be the last chance saloon for them as they will either realise their early potential or continue in the same vein and remain on the substitutes bench still waiting for their glory moment to arrive…which may just never arrive at all in the form of a top quality studio album, the band gaining most of its reputation as an exciting live act.

Clocking in at just over half an hour it’s pretty obvious that even before a note has been played that the frenetically paced indie pop is likely to form the backbone of the album once again and opener (and lead single) Animal proves this to be an accurate assumption, bursting on to the scene with racing guitars and pounding drums. It’s a fairly decent and catchy start, like Maximo Park crossed with The Arctic Monkeys but on a slightly watered down scale, and the chorus follows a familiar melody which is almost like a faster, indie version of Billy Joel’s 'We Didn’t Start The Fire'.

'I Won’t Come Back' continues in a similar vein although the track benefits from a more prominent instrumental, allowing the guitaring to add considerable weight to the track; ultimately though it’s all right but not outstanding and that remains the constant theme throughout the entire album.

'Hold Your Gaze' is another up tempo song but the melody is fairly forgettable; again the highlight is the guitaring as the song struggles to live up to its title, the mind beginning to wander as the lack of variety starts to take hold already. 'Light Me Up' is another poppy number sounding a bit like The Strokes trying to play '99 Red Balloons' by Nena – quite unconvincingly it must be said, and although not sounding tired the band do seem to be running out of ideas even at such an early stage of the album.

'Can’t You Find Me' opens with a decent enough guitar riff but then chugs along uneventfully with energetic drums attempting to lead the way until a superb but way too short guitar solo bursts forth – oh how we yearn for more of this, but it’s sadly over before it’s really begun and the track starts to trickle out…until building up again into an interesting ending with some more enjoyable guitaring doing its best to elevate another average song to greater heights.

'I Don’t Mind' again recalls The Strokes, Maximo Park, and even another Yorkshire band Shed Seven in places but is nothing to get really excited about as the pattern remains the same with nothing in the way of a catchy, memorable chorus. Bizarrely, the first few notes of 'Day And Month' recalls '99 Red Balloons' again (!) before developing into another average track along the lines of Shed Seven’s 'Chasing Rainbows', albeit a very poor cousin of the song in question; the change in tempo though is more than welcome, as the incessant barrage of frenetically charged music was beginning to take its toll.

'Unforgettable' picks the pace up again and contains a racing chorus that could once more be attributable to The Arctic Monkeys; possibly the best track on the album as the impressive guitaring resurfaces and there is at last something resembling a catchy and memorable chorus. 'No State To Drive' unfortunately returns to the constant formula and is yet another average and instantly forgettable track with token unconvincing guitar solo; album closer 'Where Are You' then revokes the Maximo Park comparisons, all too frenzied and lacklustre though with nothing in the way of distinguishing features yet again.

Containing repetitive tracks and so few memorable moments, there is very little here to draw in new fans although the bands hardcore following will probably be pleased enough as there is plenty of up tempo tunes that will give gig goers plenty of new frenzied dance moments. Unfortunately, though, it just doesn’t do enough to warrant a place in your regular playlist – there isn’t really a bad track on the album…there just isn’t really any great ones to keep you coming back either. If the band can develop the guitaring aspect of the tracks - which at times sounds excellent but just isn’t given enough room to breathe in these short tracks – and marry it with a few good melodies then they may well finally drag themselves off that bench and into the big time.

'We Met At Sea' is out now on Cooking Vinyl. The Pigeon Detectives are currently on tour around the UK.

The Pigeon Detectives UK Tour Dates are as follows

Wed May 8th 2013 - Thekla, Bristol
Thu May 9th 2013 - Dingwalls, London
Fri May 10th 2013 - Brighton Coalition, Brighton
Sat May 11th 2013 - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

Click Here to Compare & Buy The Pigeon Detectives Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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