Delays are floundering. Born into the hinterland between those American bands obsessed with The Velvet Underground and the new alt.landscape, dominated by Joy Division and New Order worshippers, Delays have found themselves at a loose end.
If nothing else, the band deserve credit for meeting this challenge head on. On the first track alone, the spirits of Pet Shop Boys and Don Henley’s ‘Boys Of Summer’ (just check the fade out if you don’t believe me) are evoked. Guitars are subservient to a glut of late ‘80s-like synthesised backdrops, which sound chillingly authentic. ‘Valentine’, meanwhile, comes over more like a latter-period Kylie Minogue hit than any of the ‘60s harmony bands Delays called upon on their first album. It’s not until halfway through the album with the familiarly jangly ‘Winter’s Memory’ that one gets the impression the startling makeover might not be quite as airtight as it first appears.
On a surface level, You See Colours literally radiates with pretty melodies and glossy studio sheen. It’s such a strong façade – the band certainly sound like they mean (retro) business – that it’s only after a few listens that you realise it’s not much more than a confidence trick. Everything’s well executed, but nothing sinks in; it’s all surface, no feeling. Delays’ big problem with ‘80s pop songwriting is that, when it comes down to the skinny, they’re more KajaGooGoo than Duran Duran.
6Tom Edwards's Score