The Guild League – Private Transport

The Guild League
Private Transport

The Guild League is an interesting project, dubbed an “international parade of pop stars,” and consisting of 16 people from bands such as the Lucksmiths, Sodastream, Poundsign, the Fairways, the Aislers Set, Red Raku, Art of Fighting, the Killjoys, and Blackeyed Susans. The songs were recorded over the course of a year, everywhere from California to Australia, and despite the small army of musicians involved, this isn’t some pretentious all-star pop band with a stage stuffed with dozens of people. There may have been 16 people involved in creating this album, but it feels like the music of a tightly knit and much smaller group.
As a result of the variety of contributors, the songs that make up Private Transport, the group’s debut recorded effort, can only be described as eclectic. The opening perky pop of “Jet-Set…Go!” is wonderful, summing up the way this album seems to have been created, working as a travelogue as it takes the listener from Spain, to Yorkshire, to Las Vegas, to Thailand, and finally to San Francisco. “Cosmetropolis (London Swings)” is another bouncy number, built largely around a peppy piano line and a spattering of horns, while “The Photographer” takes a looping bass line and acoustic guitar strum, throws them on top of some frantically playful drum work, and adds lyrics that recall a photograph of a young couple at the beach.
“Siamese Couplets” takes a rapping vocal style that works to describe the sensory overload experienced in Southeast Asia, and spreads it out across a lazy hip-hop beat with funky piano, pulsating bass, and junky percussion from both a drum kit and assorted bottles and cans. Meanwhile, “A Faraway Place” is an odd little number consisting of a string section, handclaps, and layers of harmonizing vocals from multiple members of the group. “The Neatest Hand,” “Dangerous Safety,” “What Adults Do,” “Gravity,” and “Cornflakes” are perfect examples of breezy bedroom pop, with one for virtually every mood, while songs like “Balham Rise” and “A Maze of Greys” are heartbreakingly hushed lullabyes. Speaking of which, the instrumental “Baggage Handling,” featuring a beautiful piano piece and lush string section, is nothing short of lovely.
From toe-tappers to tear-jerkers, this is one collection that any pop fan won’t want to miss out on.