Delays : Faded Seaside Glamour

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All it takes is one song. Just three-and-a-half blissful minutes of celestial melody, and everything begins to make sense. Mundane troubles disappear. Cynicism ceases to exist. You stop caring about all the “next big thing” bullshit and all that matters is that one song and how good it feels to hear it. It renews your innocence. You feel joy once again.

I know it sounds silly. “It’s just a song,” you say. But if you had heard “Nearer Than Heaven,” the first single off of Delays’ Faded Seaside Glamour, you would have a completely different outlook on the matter.

“Nearer Than Heaven” is, quite possibly, the perfect pop song. The melody is simple without being cliché, carried by Greg Gilbert’s pure, unrestrained falsetto. And everything floats gently atop Aaron Gilbert’s ethereal keyboards. It’s slick and well produced, sure, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. “Nearer Than Heaven” is a simple, graceful single that will have you believing in the power of song again. But if you’re still not persuaded, Faded Seaside Glamour has eleven more arguments for you to hear.

“Long Time Coming” and “Hey Girl,” also released as singles, hearken back to 1991 when The La’s were all the rage. And “Girl” even sounds a bit like that band’s enormous hit, “There She Goes.” But any song on Glamour could have easily been a success in the early 90s, had it been released on Creation or 4AD at the time. The shimmery Rickenbacker jangliness brings to mind bands like The La’s, James or The Sundays. Even when listening to more melancholy tunes, like “Bedroom Scene,” you’ll find it hard not to close your eyes and daydream of frolicking on a summer day.

There is a strong element of The Stone Roses to Delays as well, as heard on the druggy “Stay Where You Are.” And Gilbert’s voice has been compared to that of The Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. Though this doesn’t hold true in every instance, the heavenly, gossamer opener “Wanderlust” does feature Gilbert’s most Fraser-like delivery.

In the UK, Delays are already getting quite a boost from record critics, though on that side of the Atlantic, they’re more often compared to bands like The Byrds, which I certainly didn’t hear, but everyone has their opinions. Stateside, however, Delays haven’t been making much of an impact, as most reviewers criticize the album as being a collection of filler surrounding a handful of good singles. What they don’t realize is that they went wrong in saying that there’s only a handful of singles. Legally speaking, there’s only three so far. But every one of these 12 tracks is a hit — short, simple, catchy and just plain beautiful.

I’m not a profoundly religious or extraordinarily emotional man, but I think this record moved me. Faded Seaside Glamour is the most gloriously enjoyable record to come out of the UK in a while. And if upon listening to the album, you don’t feel anything, then you must not really be listening.

Similar albums:
The La’s – The La’s
Keane – Hopes and Fears
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

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