The Pigeon Detectives were big more than a decade ago, and epitomised landfill indie: predictable guitar tunes, and uninspired, often sexist lyrics (“You know I love you / Take off your clothes / It’s alright”). We were never fans, the albums seeming to contain a couple of averagely radio-friendly tunes and then filler. Landfiller, in fact.
We weren’t expecting a whole lot from this album, but it’s enjoyable, far more nuanced than the earlier material and while the lyrics still don’t seem to be much to write home about, they’ve clearly grown up. The days of easy money for derivative indie bands have gone. This, their fifth album, is their first in a couple of years and while they’ve still got a name they can cash in on, they need to up their game to stay relevant.
The new approach is clear from the thoughtful opener Wolves — no predictable riff, no shouty lyrics, no attempts to sound like a second division Killers. Track two Lose Control opens with a throbbing bass and guitar but it’s downbeat New Order with a catchy chorus and not lad rock. The guitars shimmer rather than chug and the vocals are subtler. It does approach their earlier sound with songs like Stay With Me, so the fans will have something familiar, but it’s all more grown up.