Delays Faded Seaside Glamour

These days, there is probably nothing worse for a band than to be called "The Next Big Thing” by the UK music press because they inevitably disappear without a trace after their first album. Naturally there are exceptions to the rule, but it is hard to see just why Delays have been getting all the attention they’ve received lately. They’ve been compared to the Cocteau Twins, simply because of the ethereal voice of Greg Gilbert, whose falsetto soars through most songs, but in truth they are much closer in spirit to the La’s or Geneva. There are still layers of swirling guitars and other intriguing sounds, but the song structure is a lot more conventional than it might initially appear. Yet when it all comes together, Delays make a glorious sound. Their debut single, "Nearer than Heaven,” is their finest moment — there’s something slightly disconcerting about a band peaking with their very first song, but it really is magnificent. Faded Seaside Glamour is just what you’d expect a debut album to be if your expectations are realistic. The good songs are simply wonderful, but the band is only batting .500 at this point in their career and while that makes for a decent album, it doesn’t make for a classic. Maybe next time. (Rough Trade)