|Delays | CD review | 2004|
DELAYS - Faded Seaside Glamour
(05/04/04 - Rough Trade)
Not content with having already released two early contenders for 2004's Single of the Year in Nearer Than Heaven and the glorious Long Time Coming, Greg, Colin, Aaron and Rowly now throw down the musical gauntlet in album terms with their eagerly-anticipated (and wonderfully-titled) debut LP more than living up to the promise shown during the Southampton foursome's numerous live outings.
With its intriguing steel drum sample a guaranteed attention-grabber, Wanderlust has always proved the ideal track to open the band's gigs and, thus, it makes perfect sense to follow suit on the album. Hurtling onwards with the aforementioned two singles and live favourite Bedroom Scene was a stroke of genius, for it's not until the fifth track that the pace slows slightly and allows you to catch your breath after the preceding whirlwind of chiming melodies and spellbinding synthesiser sounds.
That fifth song is No Ending; a gorgeously lilting lullaby of a track which features some of the album's most striking lyrics, but shortly after Greg Gilbert's angelic voice has weaved its hypnotic magic we're being thrown straight back onto the melodic merry-go-round that is Faded Seaside Glamour with You Wear The Sun's guitars every bit as addictive as Wanderlust's steel drums, and former single Hey Girl still as full of summer sunshine and sixties sparkle as when it first hit the airwaves back in July 2003.
Long-time tour favourites Stay Where You Are and One Night Away sound truly brilliant on record, but amongst the album's searing synth sounds and magical melodies, the quietest song on Faded Seaside Glamour still manages to make its mark; There's Water Here is as breathtaking and spine-tingling here as when performed live and solo by Greg, his subtle guitar work reminiscent of the gentle sound of falling rain and the perfect complement to his haunting voice. And lest we forget the wonderfully layered vocals, driving rhythms and fairground-esque organ sounds of simple-yet-effective album closer On, already a live favourite and a fitting end to the band's debut release.
Critics have mentioned the lack of heavier material here which has also been previewed at gigs and which will feature on Delays' second album, but there's time enough for such songs to surface in the future and it would be churlish to pick holes in such an impressively assured and polished debut. Delays' manifesto has always been rooted in the fact that they want to make music which sounds like nothing else around and which therefore can't be pigeon-holed. They've succeeded.
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