The Delgados
Wed Nov 3
1 SW 3rd

Emma Pollock is moments from going onstage in London when I catch up with her. The Delgados, for which she is co-singer and guitarist, are on an eight-city tour of the UK before coming Stateside for their 20-city American jaunt in support of their latest, stripped down album Universal Audio.

"When we were rehearsing for [2002's] Hate we'd all privately come to the same conclusion of the specific sound we wanted," she says. "I realized that the majority of our live experience wasn't our band playing, but the other musicians [we brought along]. It can feel a little disconnected."

"Don't get me wrong. I loved the experience of that tour. But I wanted to bring it back to the four of us," she laughs.

After their 1997 debut Domestiques, and Peloton, the folk-tinged 1999 followup, the Delgados hit their stride with 2000's The Great Eastern. That album launched them in America, and its followup Hate cinched the deal. It was a big, beautiful album, the dark lyrics buoyed by grand arrangements, but it did beg the question, how much more lush could the band get before they were overwhelmed by the bombast?

Universal Audio is the answer to that question. It's an appealingly scaled-down affair that in its own way is just as dramatic. "This album is still very complex," Pollack says, "but we did go for a simplicity that we hadn't on the last album."

More like a singer/songwriter outing, Universal Audio is a dream pop collection with effects and vintage keyboards keeping things off-kilter. "We seem to find our balance the most in those off moments," she says. "That's where we are."