After hearing and really enjoying two other groups on the Chemikal Underground label (Mogwai and Arab Strap), I figured that I probably couldn't go wrong picking up a disc by the third group (and presidents) on the label. When you're dealing with fairly small labels (less than 10 bands or so on their roster), it's sometimes a really good way to discover groups of a like sound. Fortunately, once again I was pleasantly surprised with my purchase.
Although The Delgados really don't sound much at all like either of the bands mentioned above, they're a logical fit to the label and a great listen. With alternating (and sometimes in harmonious unison) boy and girl vocals, a keen command of dynamics, and some great instrumentation, they would probably definitely appeal to those who think that Belle and Sebastian are just a little too saccharine for their own good or those that think Radiohead are just a bit too whiny.
The album starts with "Everything Goes Around The Water" and sets the tone for the rest of the album. It begins with a flute and a gentle strum of guitar while vocalists trade off duties and the song slowly builds to it's string-backed finale. On "The Actress," the group again starts out fairly mellow, but it soon builds into almost the loudest track on the disc. "Blackpool" starts off sounding like it will rival mope-kings and label-mates Arab Strap in dreariness, but picks up without difficulty and morphs into one of the more strange tracks on the disc with squiggled tape loops and a bit of record scratching.
As a whole, the album is a pretty solid effort from the band. It's a rock album, but it has plenty of trimmings and things that keep it interesting. It might not take off in large circles, but with a sort of indie-rock sound I wouldn't be surprised if they become a breakout group like the other bands on their label.