Kitted out with broken rhythms and mini-keyboard orchestras, the British based group produces a sound totally their own. Centered around songwriter Fyfe Dangerfield's kaleidoscopic lyrics and a freefalling feel for improvisation, the songs on their forthcoming U.S. debut, From The Cliffs, are sophisticated, musically adventurous and catchy.
Guillemots' strength is derived from their differences. "This shouldn't work," they beam and carry on. The four members are singer/keyboardist Dangerfield, who also has sidelines in "unintellectual" classical music and electronica; percussionist Rican Caol, who has been described as having a "deranged" view of rhythm; guitarist MC Lord Magrao, who for many years performed guerrilla gigs in Sao Paolo which consisted solely of him, a friend, and a giant clothes peg; and double bassist Aristazabal Hawkes, who recently spent a long, confusing summer playing on a cruise ship for a man who purported to be named Johnny Favorite.
Live, the band has a raw, electric edge and is quickly earning a reputation as a fearless and organic act that quite gladly throws caution to the wind. A Guillemots show will often feature a procession of clanking biscuit tins, fiercely rhythmic improvised passages with all four band members wailing like wolves and the random appearance of a pair of saxophone-playing brothers.
"We want to make the sort of music that reveals something new about itself each time you listen to it, but that doesn't need to be at the expense of it being accessible," says Dangerfield. "Headmusic's all well and good, but it's got to hit you in the heart and feet too. After all, you're never going to top birdsong as the ultimate pop music. All we can do is try to come close."