Are The Delgados the most underappreciated band in Britain? The evidence is damning: after years of glowing critical acclaim (their Mercury-nominated album The Great Eastern was widely hailed as a masterpiece), the Glaswegian quartet are still struggling to break free from what's euphemistically known as cult status. Perhaps the frustration is beginning to get to them; as the title suggests, Hate is a suffocatingly dark piece of work packed with tales of suffocating depression and Prozac-induced paranoia. It's consistently powerful stuff, and while the music may seem to stick closely to an indie template, the Delgados avoid stodginess by their skilful use of strings, flutes and even the occasional choir. Their greatest selling point of all, however, remains the vocal talent of co-singers Alun Woodward and Emma Pollock, who manage the difficult feat of sounding both gentle and menacing simultaneously. Hate is one of the most satisfying albums you'll hear all year, but it's not going to knock any doors down. You'll have to invite it in.
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