On their last two albums, Glasgow's Delgados used producer Dave Fridmann as their guide through dense thickets of strings, brass, and choirlike backing vocals. For the new Universal Audio (Chemikal Underground) they stripped down to a core of guitar, bass, and drums. As a result, the new songs snap with a refreshing directness, emphasizing the elegant and consistently memorable melodies crafted by guitarists Emma Pollock and Alun Woodward. The album also better reveals the long-standing dichotomy between the band's sunny music and its dark lyrics, something the Fridmann-era arrangements tended to blur. As on their previous album, Hate (2002), those dark lyrics balance a sense of hope with an honest assessment of life's difficulties: on the frothy "Everybody Come Down," Pollock sings, "We can drive / We can race / We can celebrate space," then bitterly admits, "I said I could believe / But I never did believe in you." On "The City Consumes Us," she struggles with a desire to flee her hometown, only to realize that the faces on the street she so disdains are actually reflections of her own state of mind. Crooked Fingers, Canasta, and the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir open. Tuesday 26, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $13. The Delgados also play a free in-store at 7 PM at Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark, 773-477-5994.