Album Reviews

    The Delays might be the wimpiest band to come out of Britain in a while, but don’t hold it against them. The shiny pop these lads create on their debut sounds so refreshingly unlike most modern bands simply because of how willfully gorgeous it is.

    In the United Kingdom, the Delays have a couple of hits, but to gain an American audience, their biggest obstacle will be Greg Gilbert’s extremely effeminate vocals. Along with shimmering layers of processed guitars and harmonies, the band’s sound most clearly lends itself to comparison with female-fronted dream-pop band the Cocteau Twins.

    However, the vocals in particular are what set the band apart. In a musical climate where male singers are rewarded for forcing angst, we need the Delays.

    Occasionally, the music grows too nebulous or melodramatic, such as on “There’s Water Here,” which sounds so theatrical it could be sung by a Disney princess. But even the toughest customer won’t be able to resist “Nearer Than Heaven,” a song every bit as blissful as its name suggests. Wavering guitars and keyboards wrap around lush vocal harmonies as Gilbert swoops from high to low octaves gracefully. The ’60s pop of “Hey Girl” and the surprising electronic bounce of “Stay Where You Are” are also highlights. The Delays don’t quite “rock,” to be sure, but Faded Seaside Glamour is like a fleeting summer romance — slight but sweet.

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