Review: Jack Foley
FROM the opening, Jamaican-tinged steel drums of Wanderlust,
you feel pretty sure that the debut album from Southampton's Delays
is going to be something pretty special.
The feeling is confirmed moments later, as former singles, Nearer
Than Heaven and Long Time Coming arrive to sweep you
along on a tidal wave of indie-pop delight.
With Faded Seaside Glamour, the Delays have delivered
everything they have so far promised, a lush, feel-good, daydream
of a long-player, packed with memorable records that seem designed
to make you feel happy and uplifted.
It's no mean feat, given the indie penchant for soul-searching
and groaning, but here is an album that is spontaneously delightful,
from the very first moment you hear it.
The Delays seem to have found the knack of catching listeners
with simple, but oh-so-effective hooks, best emphasised by that
mesmerising whistle at the start of Long Time Coming -
the track which really helped them to break through.
Wanderlust does it with the steel drums and sublimely
cheerful guitar rifts, while Hey Girl revists the cheerful
indie jangles of the past, effortlessly evoking memories of The
La's at their finest.
Throughout, though, the album possesses an identity of its own,
which allows it to feel like something genuinely exciting.
Perhaps this is due to the band's unmistakeable vocal style,
as I'm sure I cannot be alone into being fooled into thinking
they were fronted by a woman when I first heard them.
Yet Greg Gilbert's cloud-busting falsetto vocals are a distinguishing
feature, effortlessly entrancing, yet deeply sorrowful at certain
points, such as the ballad, There's Water Here or Satellite's
While comparisons with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks spring to
mind during the totally upbeat likes of One Night Away
and No Ending.
In spite of this, however, it is easy to get drunk on the Delays'
jovial music-making, so much so that you will want to hear it
all over again, as soon as it has finished.
Thank heaves, then, that the band put early, eye-liner clad performances
behind them, for as Gilbert, himself, confesses, when the band
first started out, it was like 'The La's without any finesse,
played in a Manics' aggressive style', prior to the sumptuous
West Coast harmonies and synth atmospherics that they now describe
as their 'cathedral of sound'.
Faded Seaside Glamour is a cathedral well worth worshipping
2. Nearer Than Heaven
3. Long Time Coming
4. Bedroom Scene
5. No Ending
6. You Wear The Sun
7. Hey Girl
8. Stay Where You Are
9. There's Water Here
10. Satellites Lost
11. One Night Away