Updated: Jan 4
Time, it is without a doubt one of the most precious gifts we have. As each year passes, I often find myself asking where does time go? I hear a song, listen to an album, remember being at a gig and make comments along the lines of “I can’t believe that was ten years ago, twenty years ago?” Time just seems to go by at a faster pace with each passing year. What has provoked these thoughts as I write this article is the fact that Rough Trade are re-issuing Faded Seaside Glamour, the debut album by Delays, nineteen years after it was first released in 2004. This is an album that would certainly lead me to comment “no way has it been nineteen years since this album came out, twenty years since I first saw Delays live”.
The early 2000’s was such a vibrant time for the music industry, there were amazing new albums released every week to fall in love with. There were singles released that you wanted to rush to buy to help propel your favourite new band up the charts. Just stop and think about that for a moment, this was still a time when singles mattered. I loved going to Woolworths during my lunch break on a Monday to buy singles that mattered to me. There were gigs on every night of the week where you would be guaranteed to be blown away by some new indie band in a small dark indie club in any part of the country. Living in South Wales I was spoilt for choice at the time, Cardiff, Bristol, Newport, there was always a gig to go to. The NME was still a huge part of our culture, every Wednesday morning I would pick up a copy of NME and would love to read about the new bands taking over our lives. Delays certainly ticked all of those boxes and more.
Delays were such an uplifting and positive force that made us all happy and incredibly grateful to be sharing these times together. They were more than able to hold their own against many of the big hitters of the time, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon, The Killers, The Strokes just to name a few. What made this four piece from Southampton special was their uniqueness, there was no one else who really sounded like them at the time. The guitars, synths, percussion, and Greg Gilbert’s falsetto vocals made us all stop dead in our tracks and give the band the time, love and attention they deserved. The debut album Faded Seaside Glamour is full of sunshine, hope and quite simply pop music that will make you feel glad to be alive.
Thinking about these albums that I loved (and still do) from that period some of which have sat in the CD racks for a number of years and have not been played due to other things fighting for my attention. Faded Seaside Glamour, although not one that I have played weekly or even monthly over the years, is one that has certainly not been left sat there gathering dust. What this album and many of them from that period in my life do is have the power to instantly transport me back in time. As I sit here listening to Faded Seaside Glamour on a rainy day in my conservatory (I know, 24 year old me would not have imagined I would have a conservatory either) on one of those days between Christmas and New Year when no one really knows what day of the week it is or what to do with their time I am instantly transported back twenty years. I am sat round a friend’s house putting on CDs and talking about the new bands we love; Delays were certainly one of them. Driving my car at night to get to as many gigs as we can, Delays certainly featured heavily on the car stereo. I am standing in the Fleece in Bristol watching Delays live being blown away by the inspiring pop music that is filling the venue. I am in a festival field on an endless summers’ day without a care in the world with the days being soundtracked by this wonderful summery music. If you love music and have a relationship with an album you honestly don’t need a time machine. These were the days before smart phones and social media, there is not a huge amount of documentary evidence from those times, but the memories are so vivid and real they come alive when albums like Faded Seaside Glamour are played. Some of the memories blur into one and the timeline might not be accurate but what is accurate is the feelings and the experiences that were shared at the time, and I only hope that Delays and other bands / artists from the time understand how important they were to us.
The other great thing about albums is it is not just about the past. This re-issue of Faded Seaside Glamour will no doubt see others falling in love with the album, perhaps discovering it for the first time, if that is you then you really are in for a treat. For those of us who were there at the time we will always have our memories but we will also have new memories to create. I have loved seeing my daughter enjoy this album as we build Lego together over Christmas. Listening to the album as I write this article with the rain pouring down on the conservatory roof and my dog curled up sleeping at my feet is a new memory that will nestle in amongst the old ones.
Despite all this positivity that Faded Seaside Glamour brings us the story of Delays is one that will always be tinged with sadness due to the untimely death of frontman Greg Gilbert who passed away at the age of 44 in 2021 of bowel cancer. Greg was always such a positive force, full of inspiration and creativity who not only wrote music, but also created some beautiful art and poetry. This all serves as another reminder of how precious time is, how for some their time on this earth is cut short. We all have to make the most of every day we have, be kind to each other and be grateful to have this opportunity to live on this beautiful planet of ours.
The re-issue of Faded Seaside Glamour on vinyl for the first time is a beautiful release with the deluxe edition on orange vinyl. If you are able to get yourself a copy, fall in love with this album whether it is for the first time or time to fall in love all over again. Enjoy the optimism and wonder that will live on in this fine collection of twelve songs that make up Faded Seaside Glamour.
I will leave you with the words of Greg who wrote on Twitter words that we all need to live by:
“I still believe in magic, the power of a good gesture and laughter. I want to fill the days ahead with all of these and so much more.”
Faded Seaside Glamour is reissued on 27th January 2023