Two sharp fringed indie boys climb on stage with an acoustic guitar each and begin to seduce the crowd with a collection of intricate pop songs that make you tingle with each pluck of a string and every accented word. Mes Memoires suit this small, intimate environment, creating just enough noise to be heard over the small group of early arrivals. If most of these had been listening rather than talking with their mates maybe they would have been impressed too.
If you are just a casual Delays observer you could be forgiven for not knowing they were back. The lack of media coverage may be a disadvantage in this regard, but it also works in their favour. No pressure to live up to the hype, no legions of 'fans' jumping on bandwagons only to desert them when the next 'next big thing' comes along, no appearing in certain music weeklies every time they do so much as breathe… Delays are very much an underrated band who deserve more attention than they get, but this way they remain unspoiled; the music speaks for itself rather than tabloid headlines screaming of hedonism and excess. The serene echoes of Long Time Coming interrupt the rant in my head, instantly calming and exciting me at the same time. Southampton’s finest dream-pop purveyors are back in Cambridge at last, playing to a full venue and with the same passion and energy as when they last visited these parts.
What follows is one of the best gigs of the year so far, impassioned and confident, packed with only the best songs in the group’s back catalogue. The temperature is soaring, with the melodies following suit –songs like Valentine and Nearer than Heaven making you feel like you could start flying at any moment. Even though Delays have been away for a while, it’s clear the 200 odd people sweating profusely in this tiny room still adore them very much, responding so lovingly to every song, even new ones like Pieces and The Earth You Gave Me. The band break for an encore, picking their way back through the crowd, leaving them chanting and clapping for more. When the four lads reappear the applause is deafening, quieting slightly to hear what the next song is going to be and then rising again as Lost In a Melody begins. Ending the set with You and Me, one of the standout tracks from their second album You See Colours, Delays leave us on a high and fully justified in our opinion that they are so very criminally underrated.
Writer: Rhian Daly