Delbert Grady. It’s the name of The Overlook Hotel’s erstwhile caretaker in The Shining. The malign spirit who turned Jack Nicholson into a door-mutilating, imaginary-whiskey guzzling homicidal loony in just over two hours. With a name like that, then, you’d expect an ep of stormy gothic madness in too much eyeliner. Fact is, though, this offering from the Bristol four-piece is really rather sunny. The Delberts lay on five tracks of breezy, wistful pop that takes in all the best bits of Ride, Curve, New Order and almost every other quirkily bouncy indie-pop band you can think of. And it’s great. With all the fun, warmth and timeless style of a Dennis the Menace jumper, there’s plenty to enjoy.
Opener “Being In Mind” is an instant charmer with a bouncy vocal, oodles of quivering guitar reverb and a churning chorus. Likewise, “Playing Hide & Seek” comes on like a happier Lemonheads with added Flaming Lips blissed-out space dust. Even though “Cigarette Friends” rings the changes with a jarring riff, the effect is no less hypnotic - thanks to fidgety beats and frontman Simon’s freewheeling vocals. And while this track wouldn’t seem out of place slotted in between “Sit Down” and “The Only One I Know” at a ‘90s disco, it has a fresh-faced enthusiasm that puts it firmly in 2006.
However, it’s on ‘The Clockmaker’s’ final two tunes that Delbert Grady really deliver something special. “Behind You” serves up the prettiest, twinkliest riff yet as its childhood reminiscences glow with the magical charm of Belle & Sebastian or fellow Bristolians, The Brilliant Corners. With “Mr Pepper”, the band bow out with a true shoegazing epic. The funky drumming intro ushers in waves of breathless, euphoric guitar and shimmering power chords. In contrast to the deluge of sharp New Wave art rockers, punky rip-offs and vertically-challenged singer/songwriters, there’s not too much stuff like this out there right now, so it’s great to hear a band doing it so well. Intelligent, exciting and infectious, Delbert Grady don’t miss a trick. Get ready for the happy attack.
Written by Overplay, feb 2006, overplay.com