One degree of separation

What were the Delgados thinking working with Dave Fridmann?

Don’t they realize having the Flaming Lips producer helm an album of orchestral pop will inevitably draw comparrisons to his “other” band?

Perhaps. And maybe it’s a shrewd move on part of the Scottish band.

Because Hate, the Delgados’ fourth album, does indeed indulge in the swirling, psychedelic effects of the Lips — without Wayne Coyne’s crypticness.

Sure. What’s the Flaming Lips without Wayne Coyne, let alone a band gunning for guilt by association? Pretty damn good, as it turns out.

Hate is actually something of a fun album. The politically incorrect title track alone (“All You Need Is Hate”) sets an insanely bouncy melody to a rather unique socialogical perspective.

“Hate is everywhere,” singer Alun Woodward sings, “inside your mother’s heart and you will find it there. You ask me what you need, hate is all you need.”

The rest of the album follows suite, delivering one grandiose tune after another. Singers Woodward and Emma Pollack alternate between tracks, forcing the album into a loose structure.

After a while, the Delgados songs become somewhat indistinctive. When Pollack delivers the melody for “Favours”, it almost feels like deja vu, considering “Coming in from the Cold” contains some of the same melodic leaps.

The lilting meter of “Never Look at the Sun” isn’t too different from the lilting meter of “Child Killers”.

Still, the Delgados know how to craft a tune, as evidenced on “The Drowning Years”, “The Light Before We Land”. Hate makes for fine listening regardless.

The two bonus tracks on the American edition, however, don’t contribute much to the overall album. In fact, Hate works best when it ends after “If This is a Plan”.

Hate may not knock The Soft Bulletin of its critics favorite mantle, but the one degree of separation from the Flaming Lips doesn’t diminish the band’s own work.