Watch The Fireworks could finally give The Delgados’ lady the international acclaim...
Gemma Padley 2007
There is no question; Emma Pollock is destined for big things. Having spent over ten years as part of Scottish epic soundscapers The Delgados, when the group split in 2005, Pollock decided she would rather run the solo musical gauntlet than take a nine to five and sink into any sort of mundane existence.
Listening to Watch The Fireworks, mundane is not a word you’d associate with Pollock. Twisting and turning at every opportunity, her debut album has something of a whimsical quality but with marked rocky overtones. Each track is uniquely incongruous, some upfront and full of attitude but containing an intriguing sensitivity, and others quiet, thoughtful but subtly aching.
“Adrenaline”, the first single with its tumbling excitement, is a life-loving, fortune-grabbing track. But the bright melody darkens and reality kicks in as angry guitars descend in all their minor key incongruity. Likewise the rocky “Acid Test”, which has been plastered all over the airways of late, encompasses romantic notions undercut with bitterness. ‘I called your name out, sunny and blue; I picture sitting just me and you’ Pollock sings – a moment of almost childlike romanticism amid ferocious guitar dissonance. “If Silence Means That Much To You” with its spinning drum riff and pounding piano is a reminder Pollock is no wide-eyed dreamer, while opening track “New Land” has an unusual fairground feel, highlighting a playful streak.
There is an overwhelming feeling of unpredictability about this album – you never quite know when Pollock is going to blow. But it is not all alpha-female you’d-better-not-mess-with-me-mode. Watch The Fireworks mixes in melancholic dreamscapes that reveal a hidden vulnerability. “Fortune”, stripped back to lonely piano with a chorus draped in trademark Delgado echoey vocals, is a beautiful track. “Limbs”, with its mystical piano chords and Pollock’s beguiling voice has a beckoning impossible-to-resist-quality. The overall orchestrated approach recalls much of The Delagdos’ material, a band that never received the worldwide applause they undoubtedly deserved. Closing with the epic instrumental of “The Optimist”, she leaves the way clear for the next leg of her musical journey. Pollock’s strength is her ability to write convincing pop songs and straight-up beautiful tracks – none of this flash-in-the-pan chokingly superficial nonsense. Watch The Fireworks could finally give The Delgados’ lady the international acclaim her ex-bandmates were so cruelly denied.