The Delgados - The Great Eastern
The Delgados, releasing on their own label, Chemikal Underground, have
produced an indie-pop gem in their latest LP "The Great Eastern." With the
emergence of many Scottish acts like Belle & Sebastian, Looper, Mogwai,
Travis, and Arab Strap, the Glasgow music scene has seemingly provided most
of the notable names in British rock. The Delgados, with their "off-kilter"
brand of harmonious, folky pop can be most easily compared with acts like
Belle & Sebastian, and Starlet: soft, sweet vocals and simple melodies.
However, the record isn't all flowers and acoustic guitar, The Delgados show
us that they know how to rock too. Throwing in explosions of crunchy guitars
and loud symphonic textures of violin and cello. In fact, there are so many
instruments played on this record, the actual band seems like more of a
collective. 20, yes 20 musicians are listed as contributing their talents,
from tubular bells to euphonium. The first track begins with
telephone-distorted vocals, reminding us of earlier Eels in "Going over to
susan's house." From there, the album has several twists and turns: Track 2,
"accused of stealing" seems like 3 songs in one with constant changes in
tempo and instrumentation. It, like most of the songs, seems to build up to
somewhat of a complex finale. Interestingly, much of the album bears
similarity to The Weakerthan's "Fallow." For example, "No danger" and "Aye
today" share a combination of vocals and upbeat, start-and-stop acoustic
rhythm that could be added seamlessly onto "Fallow." Track 8, "Witness"
starts to bring the album to it's semi-gloomy conclusion with a
Pavement-meets-Portishead sound. The last two songs continue in this
direction: "Knowing when to run" includes an eerie, old violin sample and
vocals that seem labored and sad. "Make your move," with it's equally
melancholy vocals and lazy 3-note piano progression would probably lull
anyone into sleep. This is what I call a mood record: if you're not feeling
this vibe when you put the cd on, you will be when it's over.
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