Guillemots are a very talented bunch, there's no question about that, but finding a direction for their creativity is evidently a problem, because this album is all over the place. While some people may revel in the diversity of this release, I can't help feeling that it lacks coherence as a result. Everything is thrown in here - rock, disco, funk, ballads, drum 'n' bass, obligatory plinky-plonky sounds... they're on their second album and, unfortunately, almost descending into self-made cliché. If I'd have been sequencing the album, I'd have probably left the immense, menacing 'Kriss Kross' until the very last track because, as the opening song, it is so brilliant, everything else on the album pales in comparison.
Although there are quite a few really good tracks on this album (specifically, the rather gorgeous 'Falling Out Of Reach', the infuriatingly catchy 'Get Over It' , the drifting, expansive 'Words' and the lovely last track 'Take Me Home') there are also some very ordinary and unremarkable songs which bring the overall feel of 'Red' down somewhat and, given the ability of the group, you can be forgiven for feeling disappointed that they haven't followed 'Through The Window Pane' with something a little better than this. Indeed, there are still some songs on this album which I'm not sure are good or not - 'Cockateels', for example - and some where the eclectic arrangement destroys the potentially great song, such as 'Don't Look Down', which merely descends into a barely-listenable mess. Fyfe and the group are obviously having fun and producing some fun music, but there were moments on their debut which really took you somewhere different, almost other-worldly, emotionally, and 'Red', as accomplished as it may be, just doesn't do that.
I'd say that it is just about worth buying for the handful of the better songs on this album and, especially, 'Kriss Kross'. That particular song has to be heard to be believed. I suppose that I just had higher expectations for this album and have had my hopes dashed a little. Don't worry, I'll get over it.
A generous four stars for the album's undeniable highlights.