Listen to this track by symphonically-minded indie quartet from Hamilton in Lanarkshire, Scotland. It’s the Delgados with their cinematically sweeping “The Light Before We Land” as taken from the band’s 2002 disc Hate. The song opened that record, and was also featured in the filmed anime series Gunslinger Girl.
Between the late 90s and early 2000s, a strain of rock music that suggested the scope of film music and the edginess of indie music was a noticeable trend on both sides of the Atlantic. This strain is typified by The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Lambchop, Goldfrapp, Black Box Recorder, and others which perhaps enjoyed greater initial success in Britain. Somewhere in there, the Delgados etched out a niche of their own, with a nod in the Mercury Prize running in 2000, with their album The Great Eastern.
This song, the opener to the follow up to that album, Hate, rides a similar melodic tailwind, with vocalist Emma Pollock’s voice sounding ethereal and resigned against a sumptuous musical backdrop, at times as jagged as it is refined. This is parallel to a similar contrast lyrically, with Pollock’s sleepy vocal conveying imagery that suggests clouds passing over a waning sun. This is the portrait of something once bright, now faded; a relationship, or perhaps a life.
Despite the obvious high-quality of their output, by 2005, the Delgados were over as a formal unit. But, Pollock, Alan Woodward, and Paul Savage continue to work in tandem with their Chemikal Underground label, as well as solo careers for Pollock and Woodward.
For more information about the Delgados, investigate the Delgados MySpace page.
Also, visit EmmaPollock.com