Delgados | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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The Delgados had a tough time making their third record, The Great Eastern. The Glasgow band spent six frustrating weeks of 2000 in a British studio; fed up, they sent bassist Stewart Henderson and drummer Paul Savage to upstate New York to whip the recordings into shape with producer Dave Fridmann, who's most famously worked with the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. But I'd never have guessed that the album was born from such chaos if I hadn't read the bio that came with my review copy of the band's latest record, Hate. The sessions for the new disc were also plagued with difficulties: prior to the recording Savage's mother passed away, and his wife, the band's singer and guitarist Emma Pollock, was suffering from postpartum depression after having their first child. Nonetheless the Delgados managed to come through with their strongest batch of songs to date. Their melodies have never been so memorable, their lyrics have never possessed such bite, and the strings and horns here are even more majestic than on The Great Eastern. This is a dark album tempered by realistic hope; it acknowledges the pain one must transcend to arrive at a fragile state of happiness. On "The Light Before We Land," as a heavenly choir and stately strings are pummeled by a thundering beat, Pollock sings sweetly, "And when I feel like I can feel once again / Let me stay a while / Soak it in a while / If we can hold on we can fix what is wrong." On the title track guitarist Alun Woodward puts a nasty twist on the Beatles, singing "Hate is all you need." But despite its surface vitriol the song espouses a rather Zen sentiment: accept the hate that's all around you and you're on your way to contentment. Fellow Scots Aereogramme open. Sunday, April 6, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.


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