Collections, the second offering from Manchester-bred outfit Delphic, noticeably bucks the trend set by first effort Acolyte with its fast-paced, consuming electro-re-brand which riled the collars of many-a-tastemaker in 2010. It’s only single ‘Baiya’ which retains some of this earlier innovation, reaching into the archives for some 1980s pulse-beats which smother incriminating wordplay: ‘breathing down my back/making tracks/all hell is breaking loose’.
But where the single passes meekly, the genre-clash-y LP reaches for the ceiling and slips, crashing through the floorboards. Lonely melodies, off-kilter beats and awkward vocal samples which at times sound like they’re parodying The Eminem Show (Tears Before Bedtime) dis-attach from any true feeling and seem farcical in intent.
This pseudo experimentalism incorporates the use of wider instrumentals in ‘Don’t let the Dreamers Take You Away’, which blurts big notes in a vapid, delusional manner, the resultant affect could pass as the theme for a new Michael Bay movie.
No doubt, all this innovation is part of the band’s scheme to reach a wider audience (check their recent press). Instead, the LP plops about like a goldfish in a sewer. More-so, it’s hard to take anything seriously when lead singer James Cook never sounds like he gives enough of a shit to sing properly.
Age crops up, as does GCSE Geography in ‘Atlas’ and ‘The Sun Also Rises’, two evidently dissonant themes of concern here. Or not, as is more likely the case. And the overriding problem.
With this lack of passionate direction Delphic have powered onwards, talking about, and incorporating everything; and nothing, at the same time.
You may not have noticed, but last year London hosted the Olympic Games. One of the event’s official soundtrackers was Delphic, the lost souls of modern British dance music, who popped up in 2010 with Acolyte before going quiet. But for Coe and co to have come knocking, it’s evident Delphic must be in some way ‘big’.
Indeed, Collections is the sound of music bigger and baggier than the attire of the band’s Mancunian forefathers. Everything here is stretched and oversized in a nineties sort of way; all the way through to drum thwacks which sound like they’ve emanating from a deserted Matrix-ey metropolis. ‘Of the Young’ and ‘Baiya’ open the record stormingly, but by and large Collections is a tale of unsustainable early energy.
With pungent whiffs of acid jazz and trip-hop – as in ‘Memeo’ – the album would make for a splendid soundtrack to an N64 game, but there’s a lack of real innovation to excuse the slower numbers which wallow at length somewhere in the vast no-man’s land between indie and dubstep.
Admittedly, this reviewer has yet to sample Collections in its native habitat of an amphitheatre-sized club, but with the constant bid for grandiosity falling rather flat, you wonder if it’ll ever make it there.
Delphic don’t float my boat – they don’t launch my spaceship – they don’t boil my egg – they don’t slap me on the back and call me Jeff – they don’t tickle an elderly man in his ear lobes and run away screaming bloody murder- they just don’t do it for me.
A far cry from electro-indie musings of their 2010 album ‘Acolyte’, this album feels much more experimental; spanning different genres and using a multitude of instruments along with their trusty electro sound. As an album this leaves it feeling somewhat disjointed at times compared to the clarity of sound in their first album, but it is called ‘Collections’ So DUH.
I did like the slow paced and slightly eerie ‘Tears Before Bedtime’, with a voicemail message ghosting across waves of piano, and thought ‘Atlas’ with its soaring vocal lines and lovely piano break half way through was quite nice, and the straight up melodic crooning of ‘Porcelain’ was also unabashedly enjoyable for what it was but wait…
‘CRUNCH ‘ Mayday Mayday! I think I am sinking. ‘We have hit a Delphic sir!’ If this is to be my last message before we’re doomed to the bottom of the ocean, to party for the rest of eternity with those other sunken souls at The Long John Silver’s Aquatic Death Ball. To my cat Bill, I love you, farewell! There’s tuna in the cupboard.