Music Reviews

The Delgados



Evoking an affinity for lush pop-inflected symphonies, the Delgadoss further distance themselves from their lo-fi roots with their most recent endeavor. Hate’s opening track “The Light Before We Land” is simply gorgeous with its disarming, ethereal string accompaniment that suffuses Emma Pollock’s mesmerizing and deceptively wispy vocals. Her sublime voice is forever ingrained in my mind, as this is the best song I’ve heard in a long time. Words don’t do much justice here; you just have to trust that this song will leave you quivering in the fetal position, as you unconsciously press the repeat button on your remote the moment the song begins to fade. The tone is thus set for the next hour. That is, if you can get beyond the first track.

It has become hackneyed to place the Delgados in the context of the Beatles when trying to describe their nebulous approach to pop music. Frankly, I ain’t buying it. This influence is no more copious here than it is on any pop record since the late-‘70s. The one exception is the bitterly ironic “All You Need is Hate.”

The song structure is a bit formulaic throughout, but in a good way. Verses are simple and hushed, at times words are almost whispered, accompanied only by an alone piano or slightly muted strings. The chorus is a burst of Spectorian energy. In true wall-of-sound style, strings soar, drums pummel and guitars decimate. Proposing this “formula” is by no means to suggest the album is tedious or insipid – quite the contrary, in fact.

I feel that I’m trying too hard to articulate in words what can only be experienced aurally. Point is, if you take pleasure in other bands that have emerged from the dreary-land of Glasgow, Hate is a required listen. Hell, if you are a merely a fan of pop music, yet to have discovered the likes of Belle and Sebastian, Arab Strap or Mogwai, get this album.

Mantra Recordings:

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