QUEEN’S HALL, EDINBURGH
ALTHOUGH the likes of Belle and Sebastian were more than deserving of their placings in the recent list of the ten best Scottish bands of all time, it is perhaps more than a touch ironic that The Delgados, who have given birth to such Scottish talents as Arab Strap and Mogwai, were denied a place in the list.
Undoubtedly the only band alive who can skip in a heartbeat from Leonard Cohen sonority to pure pop ELO sunshine, The Delgados are true anti-pop royalty, a consistently idiosyncratic troupe as bold and deserving of your love as the likes of The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, with whom they share a producer, Dave Friddmann.
On the first date of a low-key Scottish tour, they stripped back the string-laiden grandeur of their last two Friddmann-produced LPs, returning to their original guitar, bass, drum, template with only violin, keyboard and cello accompaniment. Trading relaxed, self-deprecating banter throughout, twin vocalists Alun Woodward and Emma Pollock possess more presence than their deadpan vocals on record might suggest.
Inevitable highlights include the sublime Pull the Wires From The Wall, a piece of wizened folk-pop so utterly complete it makes the band’s relative obscurity doubly puzzling. The impossibly catchy Hate subverts the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love mantra into an incongruously buoyant blast of sing-song misanthropy.
This is The Delgados’ essence in essence - the ability to elicit ridiculous joy from the bleakest of sources.
Forget the polls, The Delgados are up there with the best, regardless of nationality.