Guillemots
Through the Windowpane


4.5
superb

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
January 7th, 2007 | 20 replies | 5,868 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Much like 2005, only one record in 2006 made me fall in love with the band that made it. This is it - my album of the year.

I don't know why it is, but for some reason, I can't bring myself to write about my own personal album of the year without being ludicrously drunk. I'm slightly ashamed to admit this, but last year, I wrote a review of The Magic Numbers while I could barely even see the keyboard in front of me. That review will never see the light of day, but it was simultaneously the most ludicrous and the most genuine thing I've ever written. I was ridiculed, repateadly, for loving an album so mainstream and so obvious, but love it I did, and for whatever reason, being under the influence allowed me to state my true feelings for that particular album.

Right now, it is nearly 5AM where I live. I have been out drinking since roughly 11 PM. I'm beginning to sober up, but needless to say, I've already had to correct my own spelling about 2 dozen times typing just these two paragraphs. I'm drunk, plain and simple. There are those that say alcohol opens the mind to personal truths, and with that in mind, I present you with this statement - Through The Windowpane is 2006's best album.

This is a mild statement when considered against what I want to say. I want to tell you that this is the only album released in 2006 that genuinely deserves to be labelled 'magical'. I want to tell you that this album is home to 2 of the top 3 songs released in the 21st century. But this is opinion. Here, meanwhile, is a fact - tonight, I went to a nightclub, and upon hearing "Trains To Brazil", I was moved to tears. And at this point, I wasn't even drunk. To be perfectly honest, it's not the first time this song has made me cry.

Let's cast aside the rest of this album for a moment. "Trains To Brazil", dare I say, is the finest musical achievement of the 21st century. I'm well aware that I made a similar claim about "Crazy", but I hadn't heard "Trains To Brazil" when Gnarls Barkley invaded my life and moved me to review St. Elsewhere. This has usurped it. This song runs such a gamut of emotions - from despair ('The prophets and their bombs have had another success/I wonder why we bother at all'), to denial ('But that won't get me down/I'm just thankful to be facing the day'), to wistful nostalgia ('I still think of you on a cold winter's morning/Oh, they remind me of when we were at school'), and it reaches a conclusion so succint and touching...

"And to those of you who live your lives
From one day to the next
Well let them take you next!
Can't you live and be thankful you're here?
See it could be you, tomorrow or next year..."

...that it makes you wonder why all songs aren't like this. "Trains To Brazil", in case you didn't know, is a song about the Brazilian who was gunned down and killed by the Metropolitan police after being (wrongly) accussed of being a major player in the 7/7 bombings. It boasts a melody that manages to be as refreshing on the 25th listen as the first, a theremin that brings to light the contrast between the distant and the homely at the heart of the song, a saxophone-led brass break, and a bouncy musical outlook that somehow makes the lyric all the more poignant. I'm well aware that nobody on this forum likes this song as much as me. But *** it. I'm drunk and I'm in love. Is that so wrong?

This isn't a one-song album. Make no mistake about it. And that alone, in all honesty, is nearly enough to justify a 4.5 rating. In fact, "Made-up Lovesong #43" is nearly as good. I'll let you in on a secret - this song changed my life. Here's why - as soon as I heard it, I swore to myself that, at some point, I'd find a girl that made feel the way this song did; a relationship that this song described. I won't go into the exact reasons why, but I will say I can't name another song that has had that effect on me.

Now, when I first heard this album, I had it down as a 4/5 album, a good record dominated by 2 sublime songs. Don't be fooled like I was. The rest of the album is, at worst, damn good, and at best, capable of heights other 2006 debutants can only dream of. The orchestral "Little Bear" is enthralling, lush, and engrossing. "Redwings" is gorgeous. "Blue Would Still Be Blue" is somehow a good song despite containing only one idea. "Annie, Let's Not Wait" is a wonderful song, clearly displaying single potential, not least because it has a chorus that refuses to leave the listener's head one heard. "Sao Paolo", meanwhile, is an absolute gem, arguably the most immediately impressive thing on offer - a 12-minute epic that barely seems to last 5, brimming as it does with invention, ideas, and sheer songwriting talent. The whole album showcases a band that, like The Arcade Fire, is unfraid to introduce unusual instruments and influences, yet more than capable of stopping that ambition get in the way of a set of stunning songs. And yes, like Funeral, this feels both like a record that is almost without precedent, and the start of a wonderful career.

Through The Windowpane isn't perfect. It's a record that leaves gaps, and shows clear room for improvement from the band that made it. But nobody made a better record this year, and those flaws, while apparent, are hard to touch upon and quantify. But why care that this isn't a 5-star record? This album is haunting, harrowing, fun, upbeat, and touching in equal measures. If they improve on this with the follow-up, well....

A drunk, emotional, slightly ashamed Iai signing off. Happy new year, Sputnik.



Recent reviews by this author
Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood Krzysztof Penderecki / Jonny GreenwoodLana Del Rey Paradise
Scott Walker Bish BoschEmilie Autumn Fight Like A Girl
Susanne Sundfor The Silicone VeilPepe Deluxe Queen of the Wave
user ratings (47)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Mark Stebbing (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
January 7th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm gonna get destroyed for this. Honestly, I woke up one day to find this on my desktop, and I have no recollection of writing it.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2007



16081 Comments


You just don't get the Guillemots, obviously.

Iai
Emeritus
January 7th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Obviously.

Edit: Or maybe I just don't get alcoholismThis Message Edited On 01.07.07

The Jungler
January 7th 2007



4827 Comments


Haha, I can't even write this well when I'm sober. Good work man.
Also, these guys must be an English thing right? Cause I don't think I've ever heard of them.

Neoteric
January 8th 2007



3243 Comments


Hah, very interesting review.

Kaleid
January 8th 2007



710 Comments


You're not an alcoholic you're a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings. ;)
I think Guillemots ARE bigger here in the UK. I've only heard the first half of this - thought it was pretty good stuff.
Good review as always :chug:

Iai
Emeritus
January 9th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ha, I found out today that "Annie" IS being released as a single.

Abaddon2005
January 9th 2007



684 Comments


This was a pretty awesome review for someone who was drunk at the time of writing, haha. And 5 votes and a 4.7, not bad.

Iai
Emeritus
January 11th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol, this got featured.

This review is one of the reasons I'm not consuming alcohol for the rest of January.

Hatshepsut
January 26th 2007



1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Reviewing while drunk
This album rules.

Sepstrup
February 9th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just listened to this, it's awesome. I'm disappointed that the band name isn't pronounced in the french style though. Gil-uh-mots sounds silly...

Sepstrup
February 16th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sao Paolo is surprisingly catchy for its length. This album shows incredible promise, and the highlights are indeed high (Trains to Brazil, Made Up Love Song #43, Sao Paolo) but it seems a little inconsistent. Some of the slower songs, while beautiful because what's-his-name is a great singer, detract from the overall album for me.

I'll listen to this some more before I decide on a rating, but right now I'm partial to agree with allmusic's 3/5 review (although it might be a bit too harsh)

EDIT: I'll shut up now. 4/5 at least.This Message Edited On 02.24.07

Mexican Bandito
March 6th 2007



3 Comments


I can't get this album off my playlist. The way it plays is fantastic. The songs merge perfectly.

DWittisarockstar
November 25th 2007



1501 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sao Paulo is a fantastic track. The rest of this album is really good too.

PuddlesPuddles
May 25th 2010



4767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album is pure love

Knott-
Emeritus
March 29th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just reacquired this.

WHY HAS NOBODY FUCKING RATED IT ON THIS GOD DAMN MOTHER FUCKING WEBSITE?

SeaAnemone
March 29th 2011



19755 Comments


rated

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Knott-
Emeritus
March 29th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

GOOD MAN.

SEA IT COULD BE YOU TOMORROW OR NEXT YEAR,,,

Yotimi
August 11th 2011



6443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is awesome. Surprised it isn't more popular here

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2013



20655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best indie album ever?

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy