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Sometime around 2010, flicking through music channels, MTV2 (now MTVROCKS) played the music video for Delphic's second single 'Doubt'. The video was just plain weird - a few models with odd origami shaped body protrusions and finishing like something from the eighties, with all sorts of fancy colourful lighting and dodgey effects. Delphic would also go onto release 'Halcyon' with an equally strange video of numerous robed women posing about on a mountainside as hail rains down, along with a re-release of 'Counterpoint'. Perhaps prematurely or unfairly billed as a most promising newcomer in 2010, Delphic go all out with a multi-genre, classy debut.
The introduction of Delphic is as you'd expect - strangely etherial sounding with ghostly vocals, a ringing guitar and numerous clicks and synth effects combining into an explosive first track called 'Clarion Call'. The music constantly builds up with resolute vocals, cut off by a visceral guitar solo - the impression so far is short and sweet. Then comes the most well known track 'Doubt' with a vowel muddled vocal intro and stop-start drum loops. "All thats left for you is doubt" lead singer and bassist James cook tells us, backed up by his fellow bandmates, the chorus rings out in your ears as one of the most catchiest songs on the album, which also features another heavenly harmonious guitar solo from Matt Cocksedge. The song goes past like a twitchy blur after a lot of super fast, fuzzy special effects and echoed guitar samples, that blend in like spatters of rain against the harsh computerised percussion. Things get bassy and techno in 3rd track 'This Momentary' as it all gets a bit repetitive saying "Lets do something real" followed by a few ooh's and ahh's, then a remixed version of the lyrics. Drums go all out like Tarzan and build some momentum but it all just fades out and feels a bit empty.
'Red Lights' is downright funky from the get go showing off bouncy bass and fluttering guitar, until the words 'red lights' gets muttered and copied and pasted about ten times in a row. At this point, the vocals all sound like one trick ponies, long winded speeches that are echoed by a low pitched backing vocal. Such a relief 'Acolyte' is, being a pure 8 and a half minute long club/mix instrumental. You feel like getting the glow sticks out a minute in as Delphic push the song forward. Subtle, soft little melodies get interrupted by strong bass tracks and angelic choir like vocals. Theres a lot of techno computer-ish noises firing around in parts of the song, along with a handful of phaser like effects and even a crazy piano/synth hash up, sliding across all the keys. Its insane but a justified title track. 'Halcyon' effectively recruits you as a second vocalist just to say something along the lines of "ahhhuhhhhAHHHHUHHHAHH". It continues the theme with loads of synth loops and funny voice masks but also another classy, sharp solo which acts as a cue for the song to wander a bit, bringing in more symbol and more emphasis on the singing - "Give me something I can believe in" followed by uurrghhs and ahuhs.. the lyrics aren't exactly up to scratch but the feel of the songs makes the most impact.
My favourite track is up next in 'Submission' - Cook's best vocal and lyrical performance of the album, showing good range in a desperate "I can't keep giving into mistakes I've made, I can't keep living life left behind.. I don't recognize myself". Undoubtably followed by a gritty gain galore guitar solo. Not exactly hard rock but the heaviest, emotion fueled song found on the album. Delphic go hyper afterwards as 'Counterpoint' has some ludicrous synth and drums charging through the song like a kid on a sugar high. "Just tell me nothings wrong, nothings wrong, nothings wrong.. today" is an all too repetitive and memorable chorus. Lazer sounds and dolphin like noises pop up now and again, but its all so freakishly blissful, especially after a calm interlude and brilliantly timed high pitch guitar work. The vocals really get pushed to the limit here. 'Ephemera' doesn't really offer much - a 2 minute long haunting, atmospherical haze that sounds more like something Sigur Ros would pull off. The lads from Manchester save their best efforts for last with chill-out show-stopper 'Remain'. All the singing is pristinely focused and mellow against the score of a ghostly piano number. "Give it all just to get it, you're missing pieces everywhere. Waiting for something better, but nothing ever seems to change/a hiding shadow they'll remain" the chorus gets build up even more each chorus, and ends up being bettered by 4 notes on a guitar - somehow original and simply genius - I'd recommend listening to this to get a feel for the album.
Delphic are a nice change to the often ordinary sounds heard far too often on the radio, if a little weird in places. Still, robotic dance mix indie techno might just catch on..
Delphic are an alternative dance band from Manchester, where usually indie music has the biggest influence amongst new bands following the legendary acts that have come out of that part of the UK over the past 20 years.
Delphic have had moderate success which has been slowly building due to songs being used in adverts as well as impressive live performances on Jools Holland and on tour. This is my review of the their debut album 'Acolyte': -
Clarion Call - The song starts with a guitar, which does feature more heavily than you would normally give a dance band credit for. It gives scope to the idea that they use musical instruments to compliment their sound rather than just be restricted. Decent opener 8/10
Doubt - An immediate standout due to its awesome keyboards, synths, vocals which culminate into an almost catchy pop song though still maintains its alternative roots. 10/10
This Momentary - Starting with an infectious bass line followed by a double vocal take that builds up with guitars into another great song. The vocals are often fed back like samples but all contribute to making it a unique but easy to access track 9/10
Red Lights - Another guitar and bass led song but alongside simple but effective drum beats and superb vocals. This song is probably my favourite on the album as it probably epitomises what makes the album/band so good. At over 6 mins long it may struggle to make a single release but worth purchasing the album for 10/10
Acolyte - title track and instrumental, this track is another lengthy song at 8:51 and is the most raw 'dance' track on the whole album. Again shows the diversity of the album and talent of the band 8/10
Halycon - Another single and probably best known track due to the success of the phone advert with it on the soundtrack. Once again it is catchy enough to capture a commercial audience without losing its commitment to the bands sound. Another standout 10/10
Submission - Sounds like something out of the 80s but not quite as cheesy as new romantic bands but with some definite influences from that decade of music. Another demonstration that dance music can be accessible 9/10
Counterpoint - The dance sound is more clear on this track but again possess the main traits of the lead singles off the album and for that reason is 9/10
Ephemera - Another instrumental and sounds like early Sigur Ros, a little weird compared to the rest of the album but another example of the versatility in their music 7/10
Remain - Great closing track that builds up and uses the dance element once again to good effect. A bit slower than some of the other songs on the album but probably the best tempo to close a great album 9/10
As you can tell by the high marks given to individual tracks I really rate this album but it goes beyond that - the album flows really well as a whole, which is something in itself when you consider that the album format is considered a bit dated now.
Judging by the variation of the music on the album, Delpic could well carve out a decent career in the modern day music climate. It is clear that they can have an impact on the charts (the album has peaked at number 8) as well as have enough of an alternative sound to appease the music bods who dont appreciate bands who release 'chart' music.
I downloaded this for around £5 from play.com, a couple of pounds cheaper than buying the hard copy (sign of the times) but shopping around I am sure you can probably pick it up around that price in HMV, or certainly on amazon. If I had paid double that I would still feel that the album is value for money. I must have listened to it 10 times over the first day I got it and still dont tire of it.
INDIVIDUAL TRACKS IF YOU AREN'T SURE
Check out the lead singles 'Halycon' and 'Doubt' individually if you aren't sure if you will like Delpic. The videos are both worth watching if you want to the see the visuals attached to the band, both are available on youtube, and fairly regular appearance on MTV Rocks, NME TV and the like.
Overall, I would recommend this album, the first great album of 2010
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Clarion Call
3 This Momentary
4 Red Lights