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BOTW Review: Guards – In Guards We Trust

The few tunes trickled out by Guards from their debut album, In Guards We Trust, ahead of its release, sounded like fun, sunny American road trip tracks. Take, for instance, the ridiculously carefree ‘Ready to Go’, where you can hear the American rebel coming through, as they make a stand, “We’re often ready to go”. It’s the best track on the album by a long shot, brought alive by Kaylie Church’s anthemic backing vocals. The first five tracks sound just as brilliant and boppy, with a bright radiance of this retro quality. Sadly, though, this splendor starts to retire in the latter part of the album – as things start to get samey and don’t conjure the same warm feeling as before. Though, ‘Your Man’ and ‘Coming True’ provide a last burst of glimmering potential, caught in a good light due to their memorable choruses and sultry vocals.

Silver Lining’ has a riff that wouldn’t sound out of place in The Cure’s back catalogue, paired with a stroppy lyricism from Richie Follin – also of garage rock band The Willowz“I wanna live forever, I don’t care”. The same thing goes for ‘Giving Out’ and ‘Heard the News’, which have slick, charismatic melodies and are enough to send you spinning, giddy from the desire to rock along. ‘Nightmare’, meanwhile, opens In Guards We Trust with a persistent beat and a riff which bears an underlying resemblance to Kasabian’s ‘L.S.F’, through its ringing chorus guitars. The first part of this crowd-loving sequence also appears in ‘Not Supposed To’; perhaps that’s why it’s titled as such – someone told the New York trio it sounded very alike to the other and they replied with it’s ‘not supposed to’. Or, maybe not…

Follin’s sister, Madeline is part of Cults, a band that Richie used to work with. Sometimes, no matter how much it pains, there has to be a sibling that gravitates to more success, especially in the creative industries. Just look at Beyoncé and Solange, both great artists in their own right, but one of them has to have the edge and make adverts for Pepsi, sing for Obama and own the Super Bowl (that’s just this year). Speaking of Bey, there’s also a song on here called ‘1&1’ – a mere coincidental comparison to her soulful ballad ‘1+1’. Anyway, for now Cults are just about winning the sibling rivalry, because of the duo’s diverse, exciting sound, standing them apart from anyone else. But, Guards prove on their debut that they do have it in them. They’ve set a high standard in some of the earlier tracks, but it’s a shame this raring energy just doesn’t quite ricochet down to the end.

- Hayley Fox

Guards’ ‘In Guards We Trust’ is available now on Partisan Records.

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