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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Delgados
Universal Audio
Chemikal Underground Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Sometimes, those algebra lessons actually work in real-life situations. The transitive property, for one, can be really handy when it works: I like John Peel. John Peel likes the Delgados. Therefore, I like the Delgados. A to C in simple steps, and it applies to rock and roll! Would someone please call Mr. Vander Willie and thank him? The system works; sorry I ever doubted.

Universal Audio is a return to classic indie shine. The voices of Emma Pollock and Alun Woodward are ones you should recall from the best of times: think Madder Rose, paced or Mazzy Star, amplified.

As it arrives in harrowing, dramatic form on "I Fought the Angels," one can't help but notice that, despite the sweeping nature of their poppy blissfulness, Universal Audio shows they remain stonefaced. Their echoing, shoegazing reverb, while sweet, stays grounded and unmovable. Even when showcasing deeply wounded feelings, as it seems they are on "Come Undone," or an overwhelmed, slightly drunken view on "Bits of Bone," the end result is somewhat hollow: The Delgados cannot be phased.

The whole of Universal Audio looks out upon vast plains and lush, vibrant expanses, but with a nonplussed attitude. Everything is effortless, as evinced by the album's breakout track, "Girls of Valour," which exudes jumpy introversion, a la Elvis Costello, without even breaking a sweat. The swirling colors and unraveling composure of "Keep on Breathing" comes closer to losing its cool, but winds itself up again in a torrent of feminine seduction - while it admittedly wavers, it doesn't falter. This inability to be shaken borders on frustrating; one has to wonder whether they're impervious or just apathetic. In the end, however, the skill and enjoyable nature of their songs ultimately wins out, as it always has.

When you've seen it, done it, and said it all, what else can you say? Let not this be some broad warning for the Delgados, when one is not deserved - but while Universal Audio is great, as expected, it is on a pedestal. Whether somehow omnipotent or slightly unimpressed, it shows exactly how easily the craft comes for them; luckily, their sound and talent are just as unshakeable.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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