The Great Eastern by The Delgados – Album Review
by Matt Callard
Just as Britpop was wallowing in its smug, musically underachieving Indian summer, up in Scotland a small label was making less substantial commercial waves, but much bigger artistic ones.
Arab Strap and Mogwai might have been Chemikal Underground’s flagship trailblazers but The Delgados were the label’s heartbeat. And not just because the label belongs to the band’s mainman Alun Woodward.
By 2000 Chemikal Underground had single-handedly re-invented guitar music and given Scotland a distinct new artistic voice. The Delgados themselves had gently transformed from dynamic, Pixies-leaning grind-pop into something much more adventurous and altogether more beautiful.
“Psychedelic guitar power”
By the time of third album The Great Eastern the band are a richly relaxed outfit. They are writing lush orchestral pop music, melding lovely Scottish wistfulness with psychedelic guitar power. All aided and abetted by a massive, multi-layered production job from Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips).
It remains the band’s high water mark and a permanent reminder to the thrills of going against the grain.