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If you’re wondering where the next hot music scene will be, the answer may well be Scotland. Lately, the flood of truly great music has been pouring out of England’s northern cousin faster than Dennis Rodman changes his hair color. And it’s not all the precious twee-pop of Belle & Sebastian and Adventures In Stereo and the power pop of Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits. Owing as much a debt to the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and 70s rock as to Britpop, bands like Yatsura, The Beta Band, and Bis have reinvigorated a music scene left rather moribund since the days of Edwyn Collins.

Glasgow’s Delgados firmly belong in this new camp and, along with the Beta Band, are among rock’s greatest hopes going into the millenium. Constructing pristine pop along the lines of Belle & Sebastian, but by adding a healthy dose of attitude, distortion (check out “Repeat Failure”), unpredictable dynamics, strong beats, and a more varied instrumentation, they’ve ultimately created a more engaging and interesting work than their Scottish colleagues. The alternating boy-girl vocals are a nice touch as well, but is it just me, or does Emma Pollock sound a bit like Isabel Monteiro from Drugstore?

Just like the Manic Street Preachers, you also have to give this band their props for their ingenious use of orchestral instruments—it always works and adds gorgeous layers to already near-perfect songs. All this adds up to a great record, which could easily end up on many best of 1999 lists—I know it’s going on mine.

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14 Aug 2006
John Peel is sadly gone, and the Delgados are sadly no more. Yet this two-disc compilation from one of Scotland's finest does both the band and the radio icon extremely proud.
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