Less than The Feeling.
The Delays are back and on the first track of the album, they haven’t changed a bit. Mind you, their second album totally bypassed without an uttering and there was that linking single between first and second album that tried to change their sound to a more electronic one and to be honest, it wasn’t that great.
However, album opener ‘Girl’s On Fire’ captures the sound of the first record and should be a great welcome back to fans that lost their way along the course of their second release. When they burst onto the scene there was something likeable about The Delays. They had a different edge to many of the bands of the time and stood out a bit. There was nothing spectacular about them but they were solid and dependable and sang in a high falsetto voice, which is always good to hear.
Second track ‘Hooray’ seemed a bit cheesy with the string section making it sound, at best, like Coolio’s ‘See You When You Get There’ but by the time of ‘Love Made Visble’ all bets were off and so very nearly was the CD. Brace yourself but The Delays have become The fucking Feeling. This track could quite easily have came from they bunch of feckless chancers and it leaves quite a dirty feeling about The Delays. Of all the bands today that deserve a (verbal) kicking for being so naff and cheap, it is The Feeling but to be a band that manages to sound like them when they had previously their own sound, well its quite a concern but not unique, consider the plight of Embrace.
Believe it or not, Embrace were rather credible and rather likeable on their first EPs and debut album and when they made their second album, they had the confidence to try some new sounds and try something different. It didn’t quite work, there were some good moments but it was patchy and the band and record company lost their nerve. Things went a bit quiet until Embrace had reinvented themselves as Coldplay’s reserve team, dishing up “anthemic” moments to people who probably don’t listen to a lot of music but it managed to shift a lot of units so in the bands eyes, it was no doubt justified.
Swap The Delays for Embrace, change the second album to single linking first to second albums and then drop out Coldplay to be replaced by The Feeling and that paragraph is pretty spot on. Has it come to this for bands? Is the desperation to stay alive and keep money rolling in worth selling out and making yourself sound like a band that are nothing but bland commercial whores. Well The Delays, if you’ve been dreaming of being asked to star in an Marks & Spencers advert, you’re well down that route. Of course, signing up to Fiction Records, home of that other great “commercial smash and career turnaround masters” Snow Patrol probably signposted the way long before the album was heard anyways.
After this, it’s impossible to get the image of saccharine teeth rotting middle of the road pop out of your head for the rest of the album but for some reason, you have to hang on in there in the hope that the band will turn it around at the end.
‘Touch Down’ isn’t too bad and if the label has any sense it will be a single, radio pluggers have a strong fondness for playing songs that mention “radio” in the lyrics, it lets them link into so many of their great puns. Which is good as The Delays are bound for the world where radio presenters tell puns and have a jolly with their hi-larious entourage rather than informing you off new music. Enjoy the trip boys, hope it was worth it.