It all begins with a party. The kids' keyboards that will soon make several more appearances over the duration of these four songs take their first tentative baby steps over the chatter of a crowd, joined by a buzzing bass and distant sampled strings before the party finds its feet. Everybody's found somebody and they're all dancing. Badly. But by this time there are saxophones and pianos bounding back and forth and it's still only 11:30 and nobody really cares.
Whether or not 4-piece Guillemots are the Next! Big! Things! that general consensus suggests they are (even though they insist on writing the majority of their website like an EpiLeptIc MyspAcER), their debut EP I Saw Such Things In My Sleep is a curious listen. Lyrics from 'Made Up Love Song #34' find "...poetry in an empty Coke can" and "...majesty in a burnt out caravan", two fitting analogies for these four constructions of junk and clutter. Only there aren't only Coke cans, there are broken robots, missing board game pieces, toy instruments. These songs feel like they were once beautifully constructed, but at the last moment pulled inside out revealing wires and cogs and all manner of internal trickery.
Take the aforementioned single 'Made Up Love Song #43'; as soon as the tape propels itself into gear, bright drums and cascading guitars make for one superbly fun piece of indie-pop, repetitious vocals just about pushing it to its peak before suddenly losing its way and wandering off like an confused Grandpa in a smattering of lonely keyboard parps. 'Who Left The Lights Off Baby' seems to have a better sense of direction, with a terrifyingly catchy chorus constructed on a shimmering orchestra of celebratory keyboards and guitar.
The overwhelming feeling throughout I Saw Such Things.. though is a frustration at Guillemots' listless extended almost-jams. 'Over The Stairs' clocks in at just over nine minutes - nine minutes led by dreary organ, brushed snare and regrettable falsettos. 'Cats Eyes' fares slightly better at six minutes - dirty bass and keyboard workouts fill the space between floating piano and ponderous brass. At the end of the day, these songs are what you might expect of a debut EP - mildly flawed, yet holding great promise.
6Jesus Chigley's Score