Delphic’s debut outing ‘Acolyte’ brought with it a wave of freshness that indie music was drastically in need of. Where pretenders like Hadouken! had attempted to go boldly, and failed with a screeching squelch, of pre-pubescent, dance-infused rock, Delphic had managed to fuse the two with an elegance that was unheard of. The record wasn’t perfect, but it had all the makings of a group of stars to be born.
Cliché alert: then comes the difficult second album, and what a difficult second album it has proved to be for the Manchester trio who stormed the scene with ‘Acolyte’. ‘Doubt’ was a standout track of 2010. You will find no such gems on ‘Collections’. Instead, you’ll find a well-produced, professional and entirely forgettable record. Merit can be gathered from the solid production at least, as the album comes together well. But as a ‘collection’ of songs, it ranges from the bizarrely clichéd and camp in the form of ‘Freedom Found’, to the unashamedly awful.
OK, this is turning nasty, let’s get some positives. I, unlike many, am a big fan of ‘Baiya’. It may just be my attraction to the kind of faux-confrontational tune that it is. I mean, the whispered “feel your fingers down my back” is just a bit creepy and a tad cringey, but the simplicity of the call and return of “all hell is breaking loose” has me a bit excited. Plus the video is genuinely a testament to the band’s creativity and is an example of the level of thought that has obviously gone into the production.
But back to the negative, and by that I mean third song ‘Changes’, which has me harping back to the sonic abomination that was Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne’s effort. It’s drenched with the kind of lyrical soppiness you’d expect from a certain Mr Murs, or even dare I say it, Senor Mars, while the jinking, squelching synths and piano reek of pretentiousness. It’s just upsetting to see a band, tipped in 2010 as on the BBC’s Sound of… stars, to be creating the kind of mainstream crawling drivel that this song is.
So far in 2013, bands like the innovative yet simple Bastille are leading the way with their dance-indie infusions, and Everything Everything are showing just how catchy and incisive the genre can be. This album sadly falls down as a failed attempt at some kind of commerciality, which is a real shame, as there is promise within the tragic bars of tunes like ‘Baiya’. It’s just a shame it’s surrounded by the drivel as in ‘Exotic’, a song which delves into the deep dark world of hip hop, stumbles, falls flat on its face and does a number on its nose. Yeah, it really does.
To conclude, there’s still promise there. Anyone who listened to the New Order-inspired debut can realise that there is talent there and the ideas are sound. It just seems that over the past 3 years, instead of hammering down their own specific sound, they hashed together whatever they could to make a commercially viable album. Which, sadly, has backfired to produce a mismatch of screeching, indie pop, which will be easily forgotten by casual listeners and lambasted by diehards.
Better luck next time, eh lads?
Delphic’s ‘Collections’ is out today on Polydor.