Album Reviews

Delays – You See Colours

(Rough Trade) UK release date: 6 March 2006


Delays’ 2004 debut, Faded Seaside Glamour, was a rather tantalising introduction to a great British pop-rock band. A record packed full of La’s like melodies and memorable choruses was what they delivered – it was music synonymous with summer, the sun and the sea, and if ever there was a CD to put on whilst driving down an interstate highway in an open top Cadillac, this was probably it.

Then came a change of direction with a one off single Lost In A Melody, which saw singer Greg Gilbert display that he’s able to do husky vocals as well as high falsettos, and the band perform with a far greater impetus and urgency. And in hindsight, this was probably one of the more successful musical experiments of late, as You See Colours, their second full length LP, illustrates.

Of the 11 tracks here, most lend themselves to this new disco friendly, almost glam rock guise. And it works splendidly. This is a more coherent collection of songs than their debut, and as far as potential hits are concerned, there’ll be no fretting over what to put out – there are at least eight numbers here that would effortlessly sail into the upper echelons of the chart.

They haven’t lost any of the ability to write a classy pop choon, either – the choruses are bigger than they’ve ever been, the harmonies reach for the top of the Petronas Towers as opposed to merely the Empire State, and they’re still creating a lovely, escape-what-you’re-doing sort of ambience similar to that of The Cocteau Twins.

You And Me is up there amongst the best songs they’ve ever mustered – a striking call-to-arms, a firm declaration of their new musical path, it’s five minutes of regal sounding keyboards combined with Gilbert’s extraordinary vocal acrobatics. It sounds almost as if their spirit is running free, gallivanting around as the mood takes them, and in doing so seeking out some truly wonderful sounds.

Single of the year so far Valentine runs riot in much the same vein, this a very disco-friendly stomp that builds up into a glorious, climactic ending not a million miles away from the expansive opuses of Muse.

Elsewhere, Given Time’s juggernaut of a chorus simply explodes through the speakers, Hideaway sees them use the verse-chorus structure quite possibly better than anyone, ever, (just listen to it), Lillian’s squelchy synths and heavy riffs signal that they’re able to rock out when they want to, and very well at that, whilst Out Of Nowhere breaks out of the traps and doesn’t let up till it shudders to a halt at just under three minutes, not forgetting to incorporate a series of irresistible hooks.

And that’s what this record is all about – euphoric pop songs of undeniable quality and universal accessibility. “This is your finest hour”, they sing valiantly on Sink Like A Stone, and if they’re speaking to themselves, they’ve hit the spot emphatically. It’s not quite their masterpiece, however – they do inevitably stall on a couple of numbers in trying to realise such a vision, where the sounds aren’t quite as aurally pleasing.

They’re never bad, though, that’s not their game, and with this effort they’ll surely cement themselves as one of Britain’s more spectacular indie bands, to be talked of in the same breath as their influences and more lauded peers. On this type of form, their third album can’t come soon enough.


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Delays – You See Colours
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