Leeds indie rockers The Pigeon Detectives show another side of them with a dense, subdued album overwhelmed by melancholy.
The indie rock scene that took place about 10 years ago was headed, at least in Northern England, brought something fresh and in some cases, new. From Leeds, one of the bands that drew attention was The Pigeon Detectives, along with their go for the jugular indie rock sounds sounds and lyrics. Their release Wait For Me (2007) portrayed a band with an energetic and contagious sound full of soaring and memorable guitar solos and easy to love singalong choruses, a trait that followed their career though until their last release in 2013: We Met At The Sea, by which time they showed had added a maturity, both lyrically and in terms of their songwriting, but still that freshness and good time indie music.
It took a while for a comeback, four years to be exact; however, the band have returned with a new album, and with it a new approach. Broken Glances shows another side of the band – a darker, melancholic, mood with a denser atmosphere full of the ambiguous, which seems to shape most of the album.
The album opens with the track “Wolves” and from the very first notes this glomminess weighs heavy on the record, which sounds a little bit claustrophobic and cinematic. Following on is lead single “Lose Control” which features this nice dancing rhythm, and a repetitive chorus which winds its way into your psyche (but which doesn’t include the legendary Pigeon Detectives vocal harmonies), while the guitar glistens and adorns this thumping rhythm. Stand out tracks include “Munro”, the longest track on the album contrasts this calm atmosphere with an epic instrumental that closes the track. “Enemy Lines”, another single, shows a lot energy and an explosive ending, while “Sounding the Alarm” blends in elements of synth-pop.. “Falling in love” is a very beautiful and delicate ballad that starts out with piano, voice and this electronic hue which builds up to these spiky guitar riffs. The rolling drums and the riff at the end of the song and the melodic chorus draw attention in “A Little Bit Alone” and “Stay With Me” resembles the trademark sound of the band, with some synthpop hints. “Postcards” also plays around with some synth sounds and electronic drums, throwing in an unexpected ending and the last track “Change My World” finally has the upbeat nature of their earlier work.
Essentially Broken Glances is a contemplative, almost stifled record, and sees the band move away from the festive and uplifting sound that typified their early work, and sees frontman Matt Bowman lyrically at his most melancholic and thoughtful. This new approach has some outstanding results – “Munro” and “Falling in Love” are great songs that explore well this inherent sadness – one in an epic song other in a really honest and delicate ballad; but it is this seriousness and the melancholy that makes the it almost overwhelming in some moments-that doesn’t make it a bad album, it just makes it and unexpected and different album than we thought Pigeon Detectives were capable of.