The Delgados - The Complete BBC Peel Sessions

If Scotland has anything to be proud about it should be this criminally overlooked band Ð buy this and all their albums at once

Album Review by Iain Radcliffe | 15 Jul 2006
  • The Complete BBC Peel Sessions
Album title: The Complete BBC Peel Sessions
Artist: The Delgados
Label: Chemikal Underground
To maintain my unimpeachable standards of propriety, I'll admit from the outset that I LOVE The Delgados, so it's fair to say that a double album of Peel sessions spanning their five album career would have to be pretty rotten to disappoint. This collection is not the best introduction to the band, but a pretty stunning side dish to accompany the gorgeous feast that is their back catalogue.

Most immediately striking is the band's continual hunger to develop, deepening their emotional impact and complexity of arrangements from the joyous immediacy of early shouty, loud/soft singles like Lazarwalker and Under Canvas. Halfway through the first CD, there is a dramatic leap in ambition and scope with the addition of flute and strings on the Peloton-era songs; a development that reached its zenith with the 'Great Eastern' album, described by one critic as "the most beautiful songs in the history of recorded sound", an assessment I'm happy to endorse.

These live recordings expose the rough edges and spontaneity of a band – normally studio perfectionists – enjoying the thrill and privilege of playing a Peel session. As such, any geeky quibbles about the bass sounding a little thin are outweighed by the sound of musicians playing their hearts out and the warmth of flute, voice and amped guitar into BBC mixing desk.

A highlight of their cover-version session is a plaintive Mr Blue Sky, stripping the original of its pop cheesiness, with Emma's voice at its heart meltingly, swoon-worthy best. A folk lament arrangement of Rabbie Burns' A Parcel of Rogues is a chokingly beautiful song about nationalist pride. If Scotland has anything to be proud about it should be this criminally overlooked band – buy this and all their albums at once! (Iain Radcliffe)
The Complete BBC Peel Sessions' is released on June 12. http://www.delgados.co.uk/