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The Delgados | The Complete BBC Peel Sessions | review | rock | Lollipop

The Delgados

The Complete BBC Peel Sessions (Transdreamer/Chemikal Underground)
by Tim Den

Obviously, The Complete BBC Peel Sessions compiles the Scottish quartet's every appearance on the famed British program, starting from when The Delgados was in its infancy (a bit rough around the edges, full of clanging guitars and crashing drums) through its refined later years (string quartet, keys, flutes, extremely melodic songwriting). I know it seems an exaggeration, but almost every track bursts with a spontaneity that gives the songs a new face from their studio recordings. There's a sense of live combustion, of "anything can happen." Not to mention, a few of the selections vary a bit from their future, "proper" versions: The solo on "Primary Alternative" is (as professed by guitarist/vocalist Alun Woodward) better than what was later documented, there are different lyrics on "Pull the Wires From the Wall," and the last session features acoustic renditions of numbers from Universal Audio. There are a couple of covers, too, most of 'em already available on EPs and singles: "Mr. Blue Sky" by E.L.O. and "California Uber Alles" (!?) by Dead Kennedys being the stand-outs. Also included is a rare tune called "Parcel of Rogues," featuring mostly just piano and beautiful vocals.

All in all, 29 songs that capture the live power of one of indie rock's most underrated but best melodismiths of the last 20 years. As fans eagerly await guitarist/vocalist Emma Pollack's solo debut for 4AD, The Complete BBC Peel Sessions should do just fine in tiding us over.


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