gUiLLeMoTs – Walk the River

written by: April 26, 2011
Release Date: April 18, 2011


Music fans are incredibly fickle. If anyone is aware of it would be the members of gUiLLeMoTs.

Its first full-length Through the Windowpane was a delightful piece of shoegazey indie rock that had few flaws. When the band ditched the moody atmospherics on its sophomore album Red, both fans and critics were not pleased. Red saw gUiLLeMoTs attempt to integrate new instrumentation and songwriting techniques; a noble pursuit that yielded shoddy results.

It feels as if the band, led by singer/keyboardist/guitarist Fyfe Dangerfield, has found a way to return to the slow moving builds of Windowpane, but be able to interject small flares from Red without alienating anyone. Admittedly, this third album entitled Walk the River works best when the band is sticking to being moody.

The titular, opening title track “Walk the River” perfectly encapsulates what the band is capable of achieving. The track starts with engrossing percussion courtesy Greig Stewart and Aristazabal Hawkes before Dangerfield’s airy voice fills the gaps. His vocal work is strong, his lyrics engaging and he displays his ability to write a hook over an atmospheric chorus.

Multi-instrumentalist MC Lord Magrão—despite having a name that is beyond pretentious—proves to be adept at every instrument he picks up. Most importantly, he knows when to lay back and let the song move without overstepping his bounds.

gUiLLeMoTs prove it’s found a way to integrate the fan-favored shoegaze with the experimental nature of Red. On “I Don’t Feel Amazing Now” the band steps outside of the post-rock realm and creates a pop-ballad that feels like a long lost Oasis b-side (probably because of the British accents).

Walk the River’s highpoints are quite high and when the band hits its stride it’s able to make nine-minute songs like “Sometimes I Remember Wrong” avoid monotony and maintain urgency. However, there are several instances where gUiLLeMoTs’ execution proves to be inversely proportional to its ambition.

“Yesterday is Dead” closes the album in the most disappointing way by relying far too heavily on digital effects and bland lyrical repetition. Oh, and it goes on for eight-and-a-half minutes.

Then there is “I Must Be a Lover,” a track that feels like the band’s attempt to have lightening strike twice and create another downtrodden balled similar to “I Don’t Feel Amazing Now.” Unfortunately, “I Must Be a Lover” putters out midway through due to the combination of a lackluster chorus and unmemorable instrumentation.

Walk the River proves that gUiLLeMoTs have a lot of skill and wide range of influences. It attempts—and occasionally succeeds—at producing an album that appeals to fans of shoegaze and pop-rock alike. It’s a sort-of return to the band’s style on Windowpane, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s because it’s the sound the band wanted or if they were afraid to make an album that would get panned as much as Red was.

gUiLLeMoTs – Walk the River Tracklist:

  1. “Walk the River”
  2. “Vermillion”
  3. “I Don’t Feel Amazing Now”
  4. “Ice Room”
  5. “Tigers”
  6. “Inside”
  7. “I Must Be A Lover”
  8. “Slow Train”
  9. “Sometimes I Remember Wrong”
  10. “The Basket”
  11. “Dancing in the Devil’s Shoes”
  12. “Yesterday Is Dead”