Review: Jack Foley
SOUTHAMPTONS Delays look set to become the new kings of
the chiming indie guitar scene, so it was little wonder to find
that their ULU date sold out within minutes of being announced.
Yet while there was plenty to admire on Wednesday night (March
31, 2004), there is room for improvement, if they are to justify
the hype being bestowed upon them.
The ULU date provided the band with their biggest venue to date,
and it was apparent, on occasion, that nerves came into play.
They werent exactly over-awed, but their set could have
been a little too ambitious.
With debut album,
Faded Seaside Glamour, only available from Monday, the band
ought to have been content to promote the songs contained on it,
but opted, instead, to toss in a number of new tracks as well.
One of them, the excellent Hideaway, certainly indicates
that the content of album number one will be no fluke, but it
was only pulled off after one aborted attempt, while certain other
new ones lacked the polish of that which is contained
on the long-player.
Not that the crowd knew, of course, for aside from the singles,
Long Time Coming and Nearer Than Heaven, very few
among them could probably have picked out what was new
But it did run the risk of alienating people from the quality
of Faded Seaside Glamour, given the difference in quality
The presence of a music box with pre-recorded backing tracks
was also surprising, lending certain songs a slightly manufactured
One of the defining aspects of the singles, thus far, is their
ability to sound fresh and exciting, without the need for slick
production values. Hence, seeing them recreated live was one of
the primary reasons for being there.
And while the set was extremely tight, and the guitars sounded
as memorable as they do in single form, there were times when
the bands decision to fall back on pre-recorded material
seemed a little disappointing, especially during the track, Stay
Where You Are.
Thats not to detract from the quality of the rest of the
gig, however, for this was mostly an accomplished set which offered
plenty of potential to build upon for the future.
Greg Gilberts distinctive, falsetto-style vocals, which
sound impossibly feminine at times, lived up to the pressure presented
by their biggest date, while the chiming guitars were as lush
Album tracks such as Wanderlust, Bedroom Scene and You
Wear The Sun, with their steel drums and chiming guitars,
further the feel-good vibe that is contained within the singles,
while slower moments, such as There's Water Here, which
was sung by Gilbert alone, suggest that they are capable of diversifying.
And when the time came to deliver the big numbers - most notably,
Long Time Coming - the crowd responded with unbridled enthusiasm,
even singing back the chorus to the bands obvious delight.
An encore of early single, Hey Girl, also brought things
to a suitably rousing and upbeat finale, which left everyone with
the fondest memories of a breakthrough night of gig-going.
For the Delays, this could mark a major transition, as they will
now know they have what it takes to headline to a big crowd. Throughout,
they conducted themselves with tremendous energy and enthusiasm
and even demonstrated some nice banter, to counter-balance some
of the more awkward musical moments.
Whether they learn the lessons presented by their mistakes is
the next big lesson, as is the battle to stay in the limelight.
As previously stated, there should be nothing to prevent the band
from emerging as future indie kings, and on the evidence of this,
greatness is beckoning.
In the meantime, fans should do their bit by rushing out and
buying the album.