Delphic – Acolyte (Polydor) 10/01/10
January 19, 2010 by Liam C
Delphic are one of those bands that have been hotly tipped to break through into the public consciousness this year. Heralded by NME, BBC Music, and by no means least, us here at Addict, the Manc electronica outfit hope to entice you into their shoegazy but upbeat world with Acolyte, their debut.
So, how good are they really? Well, after careful consideration, the answer is this: very, very good indeed. Not life-changing. Or even that groundbreaking come to think of it. Delphic are just the latest band to sit on the crossroads between indie and pure dance. Pretty much the position that Bloc Party have occupied for the last couple of years. Or The XX. Or Friendly Fires. Or even Klaxons I suppose.
Anyway, I digress. What gives Delphic the edge over their contemporaries is an ability to make their music sound both fresh yet also classic. Songs like “Doubt” are a product of young musicians working against a rich musical heritage. New Order and Joy Division are not so much influences as instruments, elements to be used in the same way as the intricate drumbeats or uplifting guitar interludes. Lush, haunting and involving, “Doubt” is a statement of intent.
Album titler “Acolyte” is fantastic. Easing the listener in slowly with uplifting hymnal tones before smacking them in the face with an insistent baseline and drum. Almost as soon as we have adjusted, things ease back again, before crashing back in with added electronic effects and choral backing vocals. It’s less a song and more a religious experience. And it is just stunning.
Another plus for this album is its consistency. Although some songs are less effective than others, “Remain” being a good example of this, none are bad by any means. Most albums, even good ones, are comprised of a handful of single-quality tracks, interspersed with at best filler, at worst dross. “Acolyte” is an example of an album that has been sculpted and arranged with all the care and attention that will soon be known as Delphic’s hallmark.
One small downnote is the annoyance of their description in some quarters as “genre-breaking” or similar. There is nothing on this album that has not been attempted in some form elsewhere. What is special is the amount of craft and energy imbued into the music.
Messer’s Cook, Boardman, Cocksedge and Hadley have crafted an important album through their vision, skill and personality. “Acolyte” deserves the attention that is being lavished on it. But they are not changing music, or even changing indie-dance music, they are just doing it uncommonly well.