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Delgados | Domestiques | review | alternative | Lollipop

The Delgados

Domestiques (Chemikal Underground)
by Tim Den

The Delgados' first full-length (released back in '96, re-released here with bonus tracks), -Domestiques, will sound like the product of a completely different band to fans of their later material. No string quartets, flutes, keyboards, choirs, or boomy beats, just primal guitar assaults and the familiar voices of Emma and Alun. Believe it or not, in the beginning, The Delgados were a punky bunch, fists full of jagged distortion and choppy downstrokes. Like a cross between early Dinosaur Jr. and (especially) early Pavement, puny single-string riffs awkwardly strut their half-steps and lack of discipline like proud badges. In fact, I dare say "4th Channel" - with its half-spoken vocals and abrupt pauses - is the closest thing I've heard to Slanted and Enchanted. Which automatically means it rules, right? Not if you swear by the band's current ELO stylings. Domestiques is a brash affair: Thorny, bratty, and full of Scottish can't-sit-still. It wants to tackle you to the ground and then have a pint, all the while slinging nonsense about coffee and chicken ("Akumulator"). But if you can get past how raw these guys used to be, there's plenty to love within Domestiques. After all, it's The Delgados! Even with the tempos sped up and the amps cranked, the songs are just as great as ever.

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