It would be easy to question Delays’ sanity. If they’re not singing about girls that are on fire, or writing ecstatically happy pop songs about having obsessive compulsive disorder, they’re throwing in clich�s like “if you’ve got to go, then you’ve got to go” in the lead up to the chorus of No Contest – not to mention the fact that the actual chorus basically consists of “Woo! Woo! Woo!”.
They’re also quite happy using sweary words in really pretty, dainty wee songs like One More Lie In, and the vocals in the verses of Girl’s On Fire sound rather like someone keeps pinching Greg Gilbert half way through the word ‘alright’. Like we say – you could easily question their sanity.
Yet mental or not, Delays really do make gorgeous pop music. It’s not all as giddy and excitable as the singles – Hooray and Love Made Visible – but even Steps could never have recorded an album which would sound that constantly cheery. And variety is good!
From their debut album, Faded Seaside Glamour, Delays showed an ability for doing lots of different things well. They succeeded in being a magnificently diverse little band while still having such a distinct sound that you could never mistake them for anyone else (and anyone who thinks that’s because of Greg’s girly voice, you’ll eat your hat when you hear the tunes that brother Aaron takes lead vocals on).
And just like they did with second album You See Colours, they keep pushing the boundaries a little bit further, being a little bit more ambitious, a little bit more experimental and a little bit better practiced in the art of pop songwriting. Their seeming insanity only adds to the magic.
The overall sound of this album is perhaps a little more old fashioned than its predecessor. The typical comparisons to The Stone Roses meets The Beach Boys that they got with Faded Seaside Glamour may well return, as the harsher, synth-packed sound of much of You See Colours seems to have abated – with the synths now acting more like a (jolly good) support system for a sunnier band.
And presumably by complete coincidence, the token harsh and synthy tunes on Everything’s The Rush and their debut both sit in position 8. Stay Where You Are was always quite a big fan favourite, and a corker of a tune – but now hearing its 2008 equivalent, Friends Are False, the way Delays have grown is just awesome.
The more you listen to this record, the more you notice. There’s a lot going on, and a lot to take in. After 20 plays (thanks to iTunes for keeping count), every tune still sounds like a brand new adventure – even the ‘bonus track’ is insanely good.
The stand outs so far though include their big, swooping, epic and orchestral ballad, Pieces (is it too early to call Christmas No.1?), the bizarrely mesmerising disco tune, No Contest, and the pop perfection of Touch Down and recent single, Hooray.