The Delays – Faded Seaside Glamour (Rough Trade/Sanctuary)
The Delays arrived on the British pop scene to almost unanimously positive press coverage claiming that despite sounding like a throwback to an earlier generation, the Delays succeed due to their quality. But I just don’t get it. It would be fantastic to hail them as a great, old-fashioned pop group combining style and craft in equal measures, but to these ears, they just aren’t. There are hints, suggestions, occasions when they escape from the constraints of their influences and craft something memorable; “Nearer Than Heaven” is a lovely, blissful daydream of a song and “Long Time Coming” is both melancholic and anthemic, but the rest of the album just gets bogged down, becoming at best forgettable and at worst offensively bland, MOR indie dirge.
It’s a shame because the flashes of greatness come early enough and are good enough to make you believe the Delays could be something special. Maybe they still can be, but sadly Faded Seaside Glamour isn’t the album to do it. To end with a bastardized quote, some bands are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. At the moment the Delays fall broadly into the last category.