Faded Seaside Glamour (Rough Trade Records)
By: Scott D. Lewis
Simply put, Faded Seaside Glamour is the best record from last year you didn't hear. Imagine Marc Bolan (T. Rex) joining Cocteau Twins and you're on the right track to understanding Delays' heady sound. This is the type of album that will melt the panties off all the girls and a fair number of the boys as well. Delays' stunning debut starts off with some twinkling, Bolero-sounding sounds and a single shimmering guitar chord before the impossibly angelic voice of Greg Gilbert arrives chiming, "Can you hear that breaking in your soul? / No, no, you don't listen." But listen you shall as the beauty just keeps unfolding. The following "Nearer Than Heaven" is expansive and summery, the type of glistening pop gem that renews one's belief in the magic of young love. It also proves that, rare as it is these trying days, Gilbert is an artist that can truly sing. His voice sounds as wide, open and endless the spring sky and it holds just as much promise. "Long Time Coming" brings on the glorious glam and contains one of the most strangely addictive lines in recent memory: "Threw your Lego in the lake / Why'd you wanna go do that for?" Brilliant, and it just keeps coming, so to speak. "Bedroom Scene" is as mysterious and sensual as the title suggests, "You Wear the Sun" once again pours on that glorious singing and "Stay Where You Are" is wonderfully creepy and slinky. Giving to the core, this is an album that possibly saves the best treats for last. After the expansive, romantic promise of "One Night Away," "On" comes on to close the delicious treat of an album with a drunkenly skipping ditty so beautiful it leaves me at a loss for words. All in all, Faded Seaside Glamour is a completely satisfying, thick slice of Brit-pop goodness. I'll give it an A; as in Album of the Year for 2004.
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