- LP - Unsigned Curacao Blue Vinyl
- * Unsigned Edition *
- LP - Signed Curacao Blue Vinyl
- * Signed Edition *
- Signed CD
- * Signed Edition *
Ushering in a new era of emotionally vulnerable and cinematic songwriting for celebrated Glasgow group The Delgados, 2002’s Hate is the group’s most ambitious recorded statement to date. Recorded amidst a backdrop of personal change and
international crisis, Hate’s internal alchemy transmogrifies darkness into light. It’s an enclosed universe full of tragedy and magic, a swirling galaxy of lush orchestration, misanthropy dealt with kindness and black humour. Above all it showed a band coming to terms with their fragility with a new power and grace.
In Hate, the band’s ambition saw them striving to reflect the breadth of human experience, both the joy and tragedy of living in tumultuous times. Initially commissioned by The Barbican in London to compose music for a film about artist Joe Coleman, the instrumental music that instigated Hate was laden with darkness from the outset. The Delgados’ worldview has always been informed by nuance, an oblique
but incisive lyrical perspective but on Hate a new rawness is woven throughout the songs. Coleman’s original subject matter – portraits of troubled historical figures like Ed
Gein, Mary Bell and Jayne Mansfield – influenced the tonality of the music but the songs were written against a backdrop of international tumult and personal life changes for the band members. Beginning writing sessions following a family bereavement in drummer Paul Savage’s family, Hate was then recorded while both Alun Woodward and co-singer/guitarist Emma Pollock were expecting new additions to their young families, the latter with drummer Paul Savage. In the background to the recording process were the attacks on the World Trade Center of September 2001 and their aftermath. In this context, it’s remarkable that an album was made at all, let alone one so grand and compassionate. It’s a masterclass in restraint and imagination.
Hate sounds like the world in all its ugly glory. Recorded in Glasgow and New York with Tony Doogan, Dave Fridmann and the band as producers and using over 20 additional musicians, Hate grabs the baton from the group’s breakthrough critical and commercial success The Great Eastern. Bolder, broader and more all-encompassing than anything the band had previously attempted, the album’s palette is furnished by a string section, brass and reed instrumentation, a choir and electronic elements augmenting the core group of Emma Pollock, Alun Woodward, Paul Savage and Stewart Henderson. Far from being over the top, the group’s skill is in attention to detail, in honing and refining each arrangement, allowing each element its space.
It’s a fine balancing act that pays massive dividends. Woodward’s new lyrical vulnerability is spotlighted on tracks like The Drowning Years, which throws elegiac string arrangements against the narrative of characters living in darkness, punctuated by couplets that bring a real-life documentary feel to the narrative. All Rise brings a black comedy to the idea of a confessional before a transcendent, choir-led refrain brings ecstatic resolution to Woodward’s vocal in its highest register. On the single All You Need Is Hate, Woodward’s trick of subverting the Beatles standard showcases the dark humour at the centre of Hate. Here The Delgados’ perversity is in full flow, nurturing a glowing light from darkness, the resolving melody and Fridmann production recalling contemporaries The Flaming Lips (whose Michael Ivins assisted in mixing) or Mercury Rev. The perversity is the surging serotonin induced by the group while
singing the lines “Hate is everywhere, inside your mother’s heart and you will find it there. You ask me what you need? Hate is all you need.”
It’s a dark magic that pervades Hate, indeed it’s almost the driving force throughout the album. Flipping minor to major and back again, Favours is fuelled by fear and violence before blasting into the heavens with the gauche line “and you’re feeling fine,” operating in stark contrast to the verses’ tone. Album opener The Light Before We Land finds Emma Pollock in the aftermath of recent family trauma. Her vocal is effortless; a study in steady restraint against the massive, Fridmann-patented drum sound powering Savage’s playing and Henderson’s instantly recognisable melodic basslines. Coming In from the Cold is Pollock in full flight, lifted to the heavens by wide-screen, instrumental texture. Her presence on Hate highlights her knack for lyrical impressionism, the timbre of her voice lending itself to drama while always retaining a mystique. Never Look At The Sun, inspired by the Coleman painting The Big Bang Theory (itself an explosives-themed study), revels in paranoia, her performance ringing out in the eye of the storm conjured by the swirling arrangements. It reaches the peak of a redemptive arc while seemingly parodying the very idea of redemption.
Hate was the sound of The Delgados completely fulfilling their potential, a fully realised vision buoyed by the weight of coming through a darkness into light. For its 21st anniversary, the album is being reissued on the band’s own Chemikal
Underground on coloured vinyl and CD. Hate is all you need.
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Other Releases by The Delgados
The Great Eastern (Signed Copies)
The Great Eastern (Signed Copies)