Pigeon Detectives ‘Yorkshire’ sound was already getting a touch dated when they first exploded onto the scene in 2007, with simplistically catchy UK-Platinum-selling debut Wait For Me. Follow up Emergency still managed gold status, but was widely critically derided. Up Guards And At ‘Em, which comes nearly three years after their last album, may well have missed the boat entirely.
There are two fundamental flaws with this album, but they’re both big ones. We can’t fault the sound, other than to say that it’s the kind of generic indie rock that’s seen ‘indie’ disparaged as a ‘genre’, and almost every one else does it better… or did, until they gave up several years ago. If you want an idea of what you’re likely to encounter, think a less explosive form of Kaiser Chiefs back when they were all over the charts, or a mellower, stadium styled form of Arctic Monkeys debut, minus any semblance of the lyrical witticisms that threw that particular band into the limelight. In short this one has jagged guitars, predictably formatted verse-chorus-verse stylings, and frankly all the ‘stand out’ factor of a drunk at Oxegen.
Then there are the lyrics, and wow, are they awful. And when we say awful, we mean they could have been copied directly from a primary school kid’s attempt at poetry, riddled with nonsensical rhyming couplets, and succeeding in telling only the vaguest of stories; particularly bad, because it’s not an affliction that the band suffered from back at the start. Take ‘Done In Secret’, which repeats the line “you could put my back against the wall, or take me outside, what are you waiting for” so many times that you can’t help feeling it’s about time someone did just that, until they come up with a half decent line. The notably misogyny so widely slammed on their first album’s gone, but if we were to hazard a guess, we’d say that’s left the band with very little of note to say at all.
There is one redeeming feature: opening single ‘She Wants Me’ sees the band debut synths in a track that’s at least passably listenable in a drifty, spaced-out kind of way, but – while and has a bit of an epic twist to instrumentals – it’s nothing special, and still suffers from the most inane lyrics you’re likely to encounter. A shame, as there was a time when Pigeon Detectives actually sounded like they might be worth watching. A perfect example of just why bands can’t keep making the same album ad nauseum.