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Delphic Collections PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stu Thomas   
04 02 2013
ImageIt's hard to believe it's three years Delphic unleashed their debut album Acolyte, a truly fantastic album that married genres (synthpop, rock, bit of dance thrown in) and deserved to be more successful than it was. There was a fair amount of hype around its release and despite some storming songs on there such as Halcyon, Doubt, Counterpoint and Red Lights it never broke the band into the mainstream. As such you'd think they would come out firing and determined to make an album that would be the great leap forward.
Oh dear.

Oh dear oh dear.

This is disappointing and then some. Any semblance of a great leap forward has been replaced with a great leap backwards into 80's overpolished soul pastiches and misfiring attempts a modern hip-hop. 

You can see what they've tried to do. The press around the album's release mentions hip-hop and house influences, but the outcome is actually a mix of what passes for saccharine RnB/pop with no edge that aims to sound modern but actually sounds dated. The 80's influences on the first album were New Order, but on this album it's more Hall and Oates. (Although depending on your viewpoint obviously, you might think that be a good thing).

Of The Young is fine as openers go. Sets the direction of this album with it's pop stylings, which are then built on by next single Baiya which is a decent enough song, but close your eyes and you could be listening to something produced by what Louis Walsh might call "the UK's next big boyband". 

Sadly, these two songs sail close to the high-water mark for an album of which the contemporary RnB  and hip hop influence is evident, yet just translates into poor imitations of those genres. Many bands skilfully manage a disparate number of influences on records, but it's hard to piece together here as to what's gone wrong and whether it's the songs, the bands or the production at fault. Producer Tim Goldsworthy has previously worked with LCD Soundsystem so has previous on fusing together a variety of sounds, but it just doesn't work on this record. 

Changes and Freedom Found sound like filler from the next Blue album. Weak vocally and musically it's hard to fathom how a band which sounded so fresh and powerful for much of Acolyte have drifted towards such mediocrity. Atlas drifts along for 6 unmemorable minutes, whilst Memeo is all jittering beeps and stuttering synths which has been done far more successfully by Everything Everything. The hip-hop finish of Exotic is also particularly teeth grinding. 

Tears Before Bedtime is the nadir for me. A distorted womans voice recording, with a woozy jazz cafe sound underneath James Cook's vocals, which fail to even come close to the artistic statement it's trying to be. Listening to it conjures up images Curiosity Killed The Cat on Going Live. It's dated. Although Don't Let The Dreamers Takes You Away runs it close in the "hang on, this doesn't sound like Delphic have I bought an 80's boybands album by mistake?"

There are glimpses of their talents in The Sun Also Rises, which edges towards the classic shimmering modern pop/RnB song it seems the band were aiming for with the rest of this album. Cooks voice also soars and it makes you realise what an underutilised tool it's been on his record. Less sheen and more edginess, especially with Cook's vocals might have saved this record from being one of the disappointments of the year so far. 

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