Early 2000’s “Indie” music was, I thought, on the whole, dreadful. We got what came to be known as “Landfill Indie”, the likes of The Ordinary Boys (was a band ever more appropriately named), Razorlight, Pigeon Detectives (really ? you thought that was a good idea ?), Scouting For Girls, Glasvegas, Bloc Party, anything involving Pete Doherty…I could go on and on and on and on (and they did!). It was an awful period for new UK bands (I thought).
One of the ways in which you could sift through the dross and hopefully find a nugget was that the monthly magazines, like Vox, Select, Q etc., regularly featured cover mounted CD’s which compiled tracks from selected new releases the record companies wanted you to hear, so you could try before you buy, or didn’t in most cases. This is definitely how I discovered Super Furry Animals and is almost certainly how I came across the Delays.
“Faded Seaside Glamour” hit with me immediately. Soundwise it was very different from the prevailing BritPop influenced Dadrock sound of the time. It had a foot in 80’s synth-pop, another in dance music (an influence that would grow on later albums). All this was led by singer Greg Gilbert’s remarkable voice. The songs are fantastic, the arrangements and programming mess with your sense of what is about to happen, you think you’ve locked into the groove and then another instrument appears and completely turns it on its head. It’s very clever but never at the expense of the song.
I got to see Delays live in 2004 at the Fleadh in Finsbury Park while I was working with Damien Dempsey (see below) and they were fantastic, everything I wanted them to be. In 2016 Greg Gilbert was diagnosed with cancer which sadly caught up with him in 2021 and he passed away at the age of just 44. One thing Greg had always wanted was a vinyl release of “Faded Seaside Glamour” as back in 2004 it had only been available on CD. It was finally released on vinyl in January 2023, a beautiful orange vinyl pressing in a luxurious gatefold sleeve with a die-cut wraparound and a print of a piece of Greg’s artwork included. It’s a truly wonderful record, a shining beacon among the landfill at the time and if you’re not familiar with it then you should rectify that.
Wanderlust - https://youtu.be/12iKTYOe6hA