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The Delgados 

Hate (Mantra Recordings/Beggar's Banquet)

Glasgow's Delgados write songs like Grimm Brothers fairy tales. From first album Domestiques onward, band co-founders Emma Pollock and Alun Woodward have played the innocents abroad, their sweet vocal melodies a breadcrumb trail through Sonic Youth-inspired guitar pyrotechnics and an enchanted forest of shimmering dream-pop orchestration.

But there has always been a menacing darkness at the edges of the Delgados' magical mystery tours, a lurking self-hatred. Which is why Hate is important: Pollock -- always the more affecting singer -- in particular seems to feed off the intensity that comes from facing the thing that has been haunting you. This is especially true of "Woke From Dreaming," where her composed, naïf-style vocals shine a frightening light into a murderous, hallucinogenic echo chamber. And with the aid of dream weaver Dave Fridmann, the Delgados have again layered a lush sound onto the backs of songs so delicate, it's a wonder that they don't break under the pressure. But this being a fairy tale, they don't; they fly.

More by Maya Singer

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