tremble clef

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Delays, "Cavalry" (2006)

A song title like "Cavalry" should free you, give you license. It should inspire a pulsating, propulsive song that's a complete rush, that gallops, that sweeps all before it, taking no prisoners. (Or maybe takes everyone and everything prisoner; I never fully understood that metaphor.)

And does this ever.

"To the bitter end/I have fought to love/Now this cavalry/Is coming home."

The song -- and the forthcoming album You See Colours, on which this appears to be the first track -- begins with an acapella bit, which is always the best way to begin a song that comes to be relentless. And how it comes: a synthesized string riff rises, one so heart-racingly brilliant and memorable that you might find yourself hard-pressed to hear anything else in the song. It sounds like the most urgent string arrangement since Faithless's "Insomnia," to which it owes something, although where Rollo's pizzicato strings were suitably dark and claustrophobic, the ones on "Cavalry" are expansive, though not exactly uplifting. They don't stop to be uplifting -- they have somewhere to get to, and you should come along for the ride.

Delays might be forgiven for riding the riff all the way through the song; instead, two and a half minutes into the song, the hook, almost shockingly, drops out. What replaces it, at first, is a simple, pounding drumbeat that effectively takes over the job of not-letting-up. The words keep time to the beat, while another voice ah-ah-ahs in the background and some percussion clatters away like the faintest of handclaps: "In/Time/In/Side/Here comes the falling rain/In/Time/In/Side/Here comes the poisoned rain." Then a whole new synthesized string riff comes in. This one sounds a little like the mirror image of the first: where the first riff goes up-up-up, this one descends. Perhaps we've switched horses, but there's no changing direction.

It's probably a good thing that, after their first album Faded Seaside Glamour, Delays released the stop-gap single "Lost In A Melody," which already featured the kind of rock-with-electronic-new-wavy touches sound we hear here. Otherwise they might be accused of jumping on the electrorock bandwagon (or more than they will now be). Instead, this song has a chance of being recognized as genius, and, if ever released as a single (it's not the first single, which is an inferior song called "Valentine"), it might do what another electrorock song -- the Stereophonics' "Dakota," which sounds like a MOR ballad next to this -- did around this time last year: top the charts. (Nah. It probably won't. But it's #1 in my heart this week.)


Post a Comment

<< Home