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The International Writers Magazine
: Music Review

Faded Seaside Glamour - The Delays
Clare Sager
'This is the way music should be made.'

This is an album of sublime summery wistfulness from a Southampton quartet. From this LP I'd say the Delays have perfected the art of buoyant tracks through their high, otherworldly vocals (from brothers Aaron and Greg Gilbert), punctuated by, at times, gravely, plaintive cries and heightened by some jaunty guitar and infectious beats (with many thanks to bassist Colin Fox and drummer Rowly - like Madonna or Sting he only has the one name).

Think of a distant 60's meadow-spent summer remembered in soft focus, yet with an undeniably contemporary twang (is it regret? Dreaming? Only they know.). Somehow, this is the sound of the Delays. The word 'lovely' was created for this sound, and in a good way. It is rare to hear music that makes you feel like you're floating, and even rarer to feel that when listening to male vocals within the context of a guitar-toting band, but they do it with bells on.

Now, you may fear I'm talking about painfully saccharine tunes, but Delays have an edge that rescues them from any accusations of the sickly sweet. Just listen to the dark guitar strands of Stay Where You Are.
Highlights include the steel-drum-esque splashes in Wanderlust, the haunting vocals of Nearer than Heaven and the aching of No Ending. A personal favourite is the almost Tubular Bells-esque piano in the opening to Bedroom Scene. But maybe that's just me.
Faded Seaside Glamour is perfection as the album's title. Somehow it captures the static, melancholic mood of certain seaside cities (for them, Southampton, from my own experience, Southsea) - waiting for something that isn't going to happen - and the dirt and grime of these places is their edge.

Delays are certainly one to watch out for, and are far more remarkable than label-mates The Strokes and The Libertines. Much has been made in some reviews of their 'uncoolness', the way they ignore what's trendy and get on with what they want to do. This isn't 'uncool'; this is what cool aspires to in the dull evenings of Coldplay-wannabes and Strokes-emulators. This is the way music should be made. This album may not better your life by paying the bills or giving you the number of Mr/Miss Right, but it will put a blissful smile on your face while you do all that other boring stuff. Buy it now and join me in hoping that they tour again soon.
Oh, and extra points for the sleeve design: faded tea-tinged photos and glossy neon orange. Bellissimo!
© Clare Sager Jan 2005

Clare is a journalist with the Creative Writing Programme at Portsmouth University UK

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