Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Delays - You See Colours (Rough Trade)

When a dead-behind-the-eyes TV presenter asks a returning artist what they’ve been up to since their last album, the answer is usually a textbook “we’ve been in the studio”. The Delays, it would seem, have been having a whole lot more fun. If Faded Seaside Glamour was the well-behaved Sunday altar boy with a side parting, You See Colours is the same boy having nicked wine from the tabernacle and discovered girls.

An extraordinary leap on from their first album, The Delays find a lifesaving manhole cover out of the sewer where they were drowning amongst ten-a-penny cod-emo melancholists.

It’s certainly an admirable effort, if nothing else – switching unit-shifting banshee depression for sequins and rhinestones is one hell of a gamble. Even more admirably, The Delays manage to do so with conviction and credibility. Lead single Valentine comes at you with startling dynamism, urging you to quit your job, ditch your family and head straight for the dancefloor. Elsewhere, Out of Nowhere proudly displays some of the greatest drumwork since the Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight Tonight, while Hideaway converts summery optimism into auditory sunshine.

And while mellower moments certainly do remain here, they serve as a welcome breather to the overall thunderfunk. Too Much In Your Life’s near ethereal la-la-la’s and the velvety retrospective of Winter’s Memory of Summer manage to slot themselves in very nicely amongst harder beats and unashamed pep.

Puberty has such a bad reputation, all acne and tampons and training bras. But it’s clearly done wonders for The Delays. If they sound this good now, we can’t wait until they grow up.

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