22 February 2010

Delphic: “Acolyte”

As much we here at SDM Blog hate to use the term “alternative” when talking about music, what else can you say about Delphic: this is an alternative dance / electronic act, which has released their debut album, “Acolyte” (11 January 2010 in the UK, importable in the USA since 19 January 2010). Already catching the attention of audiences with two singles last year (“Counterpoint” and “This Momentary”), this has become a highly anticipated debut, and already receiving accolades from many quarters, but most importantly from fans. Already set for an Australian tour and to grace the stages at the Coachella and Glastonbury Festivals, these newcomers are continuing to set the bar really high this year. 2010 is seeing some incredible releases right from the first quarter.

Officially a trio (Richard Boardman, Matt Cocksedge, and James Cook), the band does integrate a drummer (Dan Hadley) into their live shows. So unlike many other “electronic” outfits, these guys are not purists and prefer the feel of real drums on stage. And the vocal harmonies… the voice of James Cook, which is recorded on multiple tracks per song, may appear as multiple voices but is actually a young vocalist who has the style and ability to arrange his vocal arrangements in layers like a veteran. His voice is incredibly soft in the majority of the tracks but it stands out as he fixates you on the lyrics, as the musical arrangements pick up the mood or mellow it out, but usually making you want to dance.

Even though the album is vocally exquisite, this is not a “vocalist” album; it is more comfortably categorized by its electronic and dance elements. However, this is not “electropop-revival.” What Delphic has really managed to do on this album is compose an electronic album that is light on 80s references, has substantial “rock” elements (like in “Doubt”), and really part of a Nuevo-electronic trend. This is most apparent in the titular track, “Acolyte,” an electronic instrumental meant to boggy to. The repetitive yet catchy beat of the song gets you up and going. However, this is not a typical, lyrically superficial dance album. Where the lyrics not these grand poetic posturing, they are sweet and straight to the point, devoid of unneeded abstractions. For instance, the song titled “Doubt” already alludes to the subject matter of the song, straight to the point. You can easily imagine a person filled with questions, regret, and remorse, and so the lyrics do not come as a surprise: “Wanting meaning, wanting more than the same things. Wanting everything, just to start at the ending. I found another face to show. Just because what you say is what will go.” This makes sense and does not leave your mind wondering, “What the hell just happened?” There is nothing pretentious on the album and yet does not lack the substance to earn respect from music connoisseurs that are addicted to lyrically deep songs. Each track is incredibly reminiscent of universal experiences, and it is just comforting to hear something familiar every once in a while, especially when it sounds this good.

Form a band and create some buzz? Check. Record a solid debut album? Check. Of course there are going to be as many people who might not like this album as much as I do, but there is no denying that “Acolyte” is solid, from writing to production, from concept to sound quality. IF you have not heard of Delphic, head to YouTube and MySpace and hear their sound, then get over to iTunes or your vendor of choice and buy this album. And import it where domestics are not available – there’s no point in waiting for months for a domestic.

Track Listing:
1. Clarion Call
2. Doubt
3. This Momentary
4. Red Lights
5. Acolyte
6. Halcyon
7. Submission
8. Counterpoint
9. Ephemera
10. Remain
11. Alterstate – iTunes Bonus
12. Counterpoint, video – iTunes Bonus
13. This Momentary, video – iTunes Bonus
14. Doubt, video – iTunes Bonus
15. Halcyon – iTunes Bonus
16. Remain – iTunes Bonus

Keep up with Delphic at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.

Here is their video for “Doubt” from their YouTube Channel: delphicmusic.

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