The Delgados - The Great Eastern
In many people's opinion, The Delgados' magnum opus, The Great Eastern remains one of Chemikal Underground's most significant releases. Not only because the album's critical success forced people to reappraise their opinion that The Delgados were nothing more than musical also rans, but also because it's commercial success came along at a time when Chemikal Underground needed a relatively big selling artist on its roster following the departure of Mogwai and Arab Strap.
The album itself, named after the homeless shelter a mile or so from Chemikal Underground's offices, was a triumphant realisation of The Delgados' potential as songwriters and as a live act. With live shows often featuring ten musicians on stage (and in one instance at the Royal Festival Hall as many as eighteen), this was clearly not a lo-fi album. The recording process was (as usual) a protracted one with sessions lasting well over a year. Once again recorded at CAVA with Tony Doogan, it was decided that given some abortive attempts at mixing the thing, Paul, Stewart and Tony would decamp to Upstate New York and mix the album with Flaming Lips helmer Dave Fridmann.
The end result was a resounding success: shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, The Delgados also received a Spirit Of Scotland Award Music Award, A Nordoff-Robbins Best Newcomer (!) Award and a Jockrock Tartan Cleft Award for The Great Eastern. Not bad going really for an album that seemed to take as much out of the band as they were putting in. The string players included the inestimable Charlie Cross (who The Delgados met after they needed a violinist to mime with them as they performed 'Pull The Wires From The Wall' on the Jack Docherty Show) Davie Laing, Greg Lawson and the omnipresent Alan Barr.