When guillemots fly, they look hilarious. A little bit like a cliff-dwelling combination of a puffin and a penguin, they flap their wings like crazy before crash-landing in the sea. The black and white birds are utterly charming, and so is the band that has borrowed their name. Fronted by charismatic singer-songwriter Fyfe Dangerfield, the multinational quartet called Guillemots come from England, Scotland, Canada, and Brazil, and got together in London a couple of years ago.
Their apparently disparate backgrounds and penchant for experimentation made them an unlikely target for several record companies in a bidding war last year, but you only need to hear the tunes to realize it was justified. Leanings toward free jazz and electronica, tracks are pinned down by a love of The Beatles' pop know-how and Bacharach's hooks. The soaring single "We're Here," available on iTunes UK, comes across like the Manic Street Preachers in their pomp with Sigur Rós at the controls. Available outside the UK (from iTunes or here.
A debut album is being mastered as we speak, and is due out in July 2006. For the next couple of weeks, the band is also touring Canada and the US, before returning to the UK for the second half of May 2006.