Thursday, August 7, 2008

Delgados - Girls Of Valour

(Chemikal Underground, 2005)

The final Delgados album, Universal Audio, is something of a return to basics after the head-spinning Fridmann excess of Hate, but these peppier, “stripped down” songs still clearly show off the considerable growth the band had gone through over the course of its recent records. “Girls of Valour” is bouncy pop-rock sweetened by sunny synths and some three-part Beach Boys-style vocals in the chorus, a happy compromise between the Delgados’ early and mid-period styles. Hummable pop sophistication.

A pair of covers from two radio sessions (both of which are included on the Complete BBC Peel Sessions compilation) fill up the reverse: a ho-hum duet on “Ballad of Accounting” (2004), and a Peel-requested “Last Rose of Summer” (2002) that serves as a vocal showcase for Pollock. Neither bare-bones recording makes a very compelling case for the Delgados as a live band; the application of studio gunk-layerage seems to have been a vital aspect of their sound. And that, of course, is nothing to be ashamed of, in light of how successfully they pulled it all off through most of their career.

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