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Album Review

Bringing the Beatles into any discussion or analysis of music since...oh, about 1970 is not only the granddaddy of all rock critic clichés — it's ultimately pointless because of the seep of the band into every single recess of the world of popular music. Nevertheless, it's almost impossible not to bring the band up when talking about Hate, the Delgados' first release since the much-lauded (and possibly over-hyped) breakthrough release, The Great Eastern. The first giveaway is the track which inspired the album's title, "All You Need Is Hate," which inverts the premise of the original into a bouncy, three-minute pop song which pretty much questions the motivations of everyone who can still draw breath. Even bleaker is "Child Killers," which is the dark flipside of John Lennon's "Imagine," complete with a cop of part of the melody and a sly lyrical reference; while the original song was a hopeful number, "Child Killers" reflects a self-medicating generation without hope of any kind, not even caring if they live or die: "Maybe now I'll find peace in another world" indeed. From a musical perspective, it's hard not to haul out another cliché; each of the songs here is processed, tweaked, and orchestrated into a positively massive (even majestic) sonic epic, bringing to mind albums by the Flaming Lips or Mercury Rev that were released around the same time. If you believe the party line, the Delgados had already fully hammered out the songs before bringing them to producer Dave Fridmann (whose heavy production hand had, indeed, provided much of the sonic signature of both the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev), and Fridmann's contribution was minimal polish. That's pretty hard to believe when you actually listen to the results, but it's certainly easy to forgive; where The Great Eastern was a fairly gentle and tentative record in a lot of ways, this one is bigger and demands your attention. The good news is that it's one of those rare records that actually deserves all of the attention it demands.

Biography

Formed: 1994 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

While failing to earn the same critical renown and cultish devotion lavished upon countrymen Belle & Sebastian or Mogwai, the Delgados were in many respects the true epicenter of the contemporary Scottish pop renaissance. Through their renowned Chemikal Underground label, the group not only launched the careers of acts from Bis to Arab Strap, but their own recordings rank among the most sublime pop experiences in recent memory, blossoming from the lo-fi simplicity of their earliest work to an...
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Hate, The Delgados
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