Album Review: Delays – Star Tiger, Star Ariel

By on Friday, 25th June 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’ve rabbited on a fair bit about it recently, but frankly this album hasn’t received the attention I think it deserves.

“Star Tiger, Star Ariel” is the fourth outing from Southampton’s Delays sees them ditching the summer sun of “Faded Seaside Glamour”, the club of “You See Colours” and the festival of “Everything’s The Rush” and taking up residence on late night drives around the new forest, ending up at Southampton’s docks.

From opener “Find a Home (New Forest Shaker)” you know it’s going to be a hell of a journey. Starting gently, you’ve got the soothing repetition of the keys, the fragile vocals of Greg Gilbert and the slowly building moonlight crescendo, setting off the tone for the journey.

Whilst “Find a Home” might be a bit different a bit more fragile than you’d expect from previous albums, they’re certainly not afraid to make it their most personal collection of songs yet. “Hold Fire” is a perfect song to watch the sun come over the horizon, slowly building into one of their most beautiful songs to date that gently tugs at your heart strings. “Moment Gone” rivals “Faded Seaside Glamour’s” stunning “Bedroom Scene” for the “hairs on the back of your neck” moments, an

That’s not to say that they’ve dropped the huge anthems – oh no. “Lost Estate” has the huge, yearning chorus of “Why don’t you ask me to stay?! I want nobody but you”, and you can’t help but believe that Greg sings it with every last bit of his heart, he genuinely means it. His stunning falsetto is back in abundance with “Rhapsody”, a hypnotic run through the moonlit trees, whilst “May 45” is one of their strongest songs yet –heavily guitar driven yet somehow you’ll have the “d-ream on…” looping around your head for days to come.

The keys and synths are mostly turned down a notch on “Star Tiger, Star Ariel”, but “Brilliant Sunshine” is the one exception – Aaron Gilbert’s chance to shine. Vulnerable yet optimistic, from the chavvy “wo!’s” to the closing loops of “you always bring the fight”, it fits right in with the rest of the album, yet is a return to the dancier tracks of the previous two albums.

Album closer “Star Tiger, Star Ariel” is a pretty big departure from some of their previous songs, with Greg and Colins guitar and bass taking centre stage, a much rockier, angrier number than much of their previous stuff, and they certainly manage to pull it off – for some who loved “Pieces” from “Everything’s the Rush”, they’ll surely love this.

All in all, “Star Tiger, Star Ariel” might be seen to be a departure in sound by some, but then they’ve never been afraid of change (remember that shift from guitars to synths between “Faded Seaside Glamour” and “You See Colours”?) and challenging themselves. If you want something that’s a bit different this summer, a gift that will keep giving, go and get yourself “Star Tiger, Star Ariel”. If you don’t like it, you don’t have a soul.

MP3: Delays – Unsung (Torch Team Remix)
[audio: _Remix_.mp3]

MP3: Delays – Find a Home

You can order your copy of the album on Amazon now.

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2 Responses

11:05 pm
5th July 2010

Brilliant review, love it.

9:29 am
6th July 2010

Excellent review Phil. 🙂

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