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Album Review

Guillemots (pronounced gilly-mots) 2006 debut Through the Windowpane carried with it a wispy tendril of melancholy that settled on even its most jubilant tracks, especially on the singles "Trains to Brazil" and "We're Here." That heady mix of gray English skies and worldbeat-infused indie pop didn't always work, but when it did the results could be goosebump inducing. The same cannot be said about the band's polarizing sophomore effort, Red, a slick, loud, over-produced volcano of late-'80s/early-'90s inspired dance pop (opener "Kriss Kross" veers dangerously close to C+C Music Factory territory) that continuously erupts a new idea every three or four seconds without ever establishing a solid base for the fireworks to illuminate. With this much going on, it's hard to know what was there to begin with, but peeling away the layers of songs like "Big Dog" and "Last Kiss" reveals that all of the window dressing may have been brought in to hide what were essentially mediocre songs, which is a shame, as there are moments where all that glitters is indeed gold. Bandleader Fyfe Dangerfield's vocals are impressive as ever, adapting to each left turn with chameleon-like swiftness, but the barrage of chord changes, keyboards, drum machines, horns, strings and samples obliterate any memorable motif or successful turn of phrase before they ever have a chance to connect, resulting in an aural assault comparable to listening to Kajagoogoo, New Order, Coldplay, and the Flaming Lips all at the same time. Red is at its best when it mines the new wave/Europop of Level 42 and Ultravox, especially on the infectious "Clarion," but those moments are few and far between. Still, Guillemots remains a fascinating band, and while its musical eclecticism remains as divisive as ever, there's no denying it has the potential to craft a modern classic, which makes Red all the more infuriating.

Customer Reviews

It's not bad but not amazing

Well I don't really know where all these amazing reviews are coming from. It's 3 tracks shorter than the last album, some of them are fairly wishy washy with a lack of instrumentation compared with TTWP, and although some of the tracks are nice and catchy, there's nothing amazing like Sao Paulo to make up for everything else. It's not bad, but not amazing.

Picking up where they left off

The last album was a stunning example of how gifted Fyfe Dangerfield and his band truly are, and this latest offering only enforces this; the arrangements, the skilled playing and the epic vocals combine to produce yet another top-notch album. Critics moan that the Guillemots have no specific one sound, that Dangerfield's restlessness means they lack consistency. Yes, all their songs sound different so it is impossible to pigeon-hole them - but what's wrong with that? Who needs a band whose albums sound like the same song stuck on 'repeat'? Guillemots ARE consistent...consistently brilliant. Surely that's all we need.

Awesome return....

What range this band has... A two year absence after their brilliant debut, ‘Through the Window Pane’ to deliver this some what different yet fantastic effort just goes to prove what a great and inventive mix of musicians this band offers. With greater focus on the beat and an up beat tempo whilst retaining the quirkiness they have displayed on the previous album, I can’t wait for them to tour again….

Biography

Formed: 2004 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The multinational Guillemots, comprised of English singer and classically trained pianist Fyfe Dangerfield, Brazilian guitarist MC Lord Magrao, Scottish percussionist Greig Stewart (aka Rican Caol), and Canadian double bassist Aristazabal Hawkes, use their eclectic influences and personal styles to create a catchy pop sound and an energetic live show that have won them many fans in their British home base. In 2005, they opened for Rufus Wainwright during his U.K. tour and released the EP I Saw Such...
Full bio
Red, Guillemots
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