By The Delgados
The Delgados, in musical terms, are just a yellow dot on the horizon. Fervent followers of the Tour de France, their latest offering sees the Scottish punk-pop purveyors stretching that lead with universal appeal.
Combining Beach Boy harmonies with orchestral mayhem, the results are awesome as louche bohemia meets Pixies pomp. Opener "I fought the angels" soundtracks their gangland rites of passage while "Sink or Swim" echoes serenely from the depths, its languid pace given real bite by Emma Pollock's sugar-sweet vocals. Even better, melancholic organs hum with hidden malice on "The City consumes us", its undernourished simplicity running parallel with REM's "E-bow the letter."
The whole album is crisp and warm, firmly placing a smile on your face and 11 belting tracks in your CD player. They still retain the 2-minute punk hits that made their debut album, "Domestique" such a handclap happy hit. But on "Universal Audio", their 5th studio album, they've expanded this into an orchestral opus complete with accordions, recorders and haunting piano.
Some of it sounds a little derivative, as one glorious barrage of guitars blends seamlessly into the next, each savage attack diluting the pop prowess of the band. But it feels churlish to complain when the whole album gleams with grimy intensity, proving that The Delgados are a real tour de force. Catch the dot before it disappears.