Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2007: Number 27

Rendering suggests she has an overlong neck

To borrow another band's self-description, the Delgados were all about ordinary magic. From their fuzzbomb beginnings to the low-key melodic grandiosity of Peloton, still one of the 90s' great albums for our money, then the enormous swells of Scotpop Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev that was The Great Eastern and back down to Hate's unsettling anthemry and Universal Audio's shot at commercialism on their own terms, their sound took the building blocks of what used to be gladly called indie and doing something special and ambitious with it. Thus, when we say Emma Pollock's debut solo record Watch The Fireworks is of a piece with her now defunct band's oeuvre, it's not to imply that she hasn't moved on but that she's never lost that knack of writing tunes that could easily be on daytime radio and taking them somewhere that doesn't compromise either her integrity or their musical attributes.

Taking into account the lack of Alun Woodward and the lack of the orchestral swells phased out of the band around Universal Audio, the Business As Unusual sign is hoisted by the chorus of opener New Land, a waltz about vulnerability and making a clean break if possible. If it's that last album's unclean subject matter over cleaner riffage that marks out the most radio-friendly fast tracks such as Acid Test and the Coldplay with a heart of Adrenaline, the actual standouts outgrow such concerns while maintaining a maturity learnt through twelve years' experience. And where most try to become more mature and lose whatever they had, Limbs takes a hushed folky lead and Paper And Glue is a graceful, dynamic pop song about regret that sets up base camp well under the skin. The acid-tongued If Silence Means That Much To You's pounding rhythm and Here Comes The Heartbreak taking on Teenage Fanclub at their own game establish that she really means business being back here, and by the time The Optimist finishes the record on a note of overcoming self-doubt it's clear there's far more where this is coming from. Plus ca change.

LISTEN ON: If Silence Means That Much To You
WATCH ON: Acid Test


My favourite album of 2007 is...

Steven Adams, The Broken Family Band: "Turns out all my favourite albums of this year came out last year. I’ve realised I’m usually a year or so behind, but I’ll plump for The Miracle Inn by Euros Childs and if I’m allowed two then I’ll have The Body The Blood The Machine by The Thermals. I can’t speak for the others. I know two of them have been listening to Sikth a bit too much."


Ed said...

Am still trying to sort my albums into order for the year, though I think Emma pollock would be higher on my personal list! BTW, are you going to do your bloggers' poll this year?

Ed, 17 Seconds

Simon said...

Good question - emails are being sent out later this week.

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