Delgados : London ICA

Our rating:

Martian death machines sent to annihilate rock as we know it. With, uh, violas...

“FUCK YOU LONDON, WE’RE THE MOTHERFUCKING DELGADOS FROM HEELLLLLLL!!” you wish they’d say, ramming the nearest cello into the teeth of The Independent’s popular arts critic. Because all this mouse-like tucking of hair behind ears and nervous giggling carbon dates them as belonging to a prehi-Stroke-ic indie era that died shrugging in 1992. Which is wrong, because, in actual fact, The Delgados are Martian death machines sent to annihilate rock as we know it. With, uh, violas.

You’ll be familiar with their one song already: a kind of Melodic Mogwai affair that starts with stately string quartet grace, ends like an F1-11 attack on the Royal Albert Hall on the last night of the Proms and is always utterly fantastic. And, with the arrival of fourth album ‘Hate’, that song’s been turbocharged. On ‘The Light Before We Land’ it grows into an apocalyptic valkyrie boom, on the sublimely pop ‘Coming In From The Cold’ it has a light-headed fling with a drum machine and by ‘Favours’ it’s levitating the venue on bombastic string power alone. Plus, if there’s been a more touching song than ‘Child Killers’ written this year then Fame Academy is entertaining.

Gorge yourself on those new sweaty Antipodean guitar thrills by all means, but without The Delgados music’d be like sex without cuddles or a Grand Prix win without champagne.

Mark Beaumont