The Delgados/Electric Sound of Joy/

Khaya -The Attic, 15th March 1998

 Khaya look like the usual student band who it always seems are obliged to be put on any Edinburgh bill by some obscure local byelaw. I often dread getting to Edinburgh venues too early in case I meet up with such a band and their baying schoolfriends. Happily, I meet up instead with Paul Delgado who tells me that they will be worth hearing, so I decide to give them a fair chance (for once).

 And by god, he's right you know. Looks aren't everything right enough, while half the band are probably not out of school, they have a 'mature' bunch of songs, and the fact that they don't quite seem to have settled on one particular style of music to play is certainly in their favour, at least for now. Heavily distorted acoustic, even flamenco guitar, has me thinking 'Why did no-one try this before?', there's a battered keyboard (which augments the drummer a lot of the time) giving a 80's electropop feel, a shambolic song which gains one of the biggest cheers of the night, "Do You Remember That Leonard Cohens song 'Suzanne'?" and sounds a lot like the Mekons, though most of the band could only have heard the Mekons through the womb. And their next single which has the refrain "My girlfriend's evil, my boyfriend's worse" and rips along like an out-of-control Prolapse. Mighty fine, all this youthful exuberance. Electric Sound of Joy provide a not unwelcome contrast to all this late 70's stuff with their, hang on, early 70's sounds. Ok, unfair. However, the band commence sitting down at various keyboards and play an instrumental which wouldn't upset Krafktwerk fans too much. The singer is a compulsive fiddler with mike stands and engages the audience in banter about how Scotland is nicer than their home area of Derby, but mainly they just play music. And pretty decent music it is too, a bit Stereolab in places, in that kind of middle ground area- not quite pop music, but not a wall of sound either, just good old fashioned left field pop. Check out the single "Don't waste my time" which is one hilight of their set and which I recognise immedaiely despite only having heard it once previously. That must stand for something, right?


The Delgados also play a lot of familiar stuff and you guesssed it, not all that much was actually old material. They're busy at the moment, juggling the forthcoming Arab Strap album with their own single and their own lp which they are really showcasing tonight. This shows that they have their new 'mature' sound now, and personally I like it. Under Canvas Under Wraps still gets an airing, but with a cellist onstage and various other classical instruments joining them later in the tour, it's a more considerd approach. Though there's still a bit of rocking out, not allowing strings to get in the way of a good old-fashioned thrash, the cello joins in quite happily on Blackpool, and the next single "Pull the Wires From the Wall". The band still don't want to play the rock game,sneaking in The Hit "Everything Goes Round the Water" early on and foregoing an encore. Still, they can't stay up all night, they have a label to run and a single to chart.