Delphic’s debut Acolyte was one of my favorite records of 2010. Hailing from Manchester, Delphic weren’t your typical scraggy, indie boys clutching vintage guitars – they looked towards New Order rather than Morrisey and co. in their sound. They had a strong, studious image. With a strong image, the band combined style and substance with a great grasp of dance floor dynamics.
This more than made up for at best scarce lyrical content with Hacienda infused electro pop that was both catchy and anthemic. The group now look to change direction with Collections in which they claim they “have tried to pull in influence from everywhere” and “as many sources as they could”. This they have achieved to little success. The problem being that I can’t even tell what direction Delphic are trying to move in; it’s simply disappointingly uneventful electro songs that lack the intensely catchy explosions in Acolyte. It honestly sounds like something Owl City would put out with some even weaker hip-hop beats.
Songs like ‘Tears Before Bedtimes’ seems influenced by a How To Dress Well track but failing in every regard. They even feature a guest rapper verse on ending track ‘Exotic’, which is a truly awkward and baffling affair. The first single of the album – ‘Baiya’ – is a gruesome attempt at a pop song. I’m finding it difficult to find any other adjective other than boring, there is literally nothing of any interest in this song – the vocals never level out, the chorus sounds feeble and the bass line is just horrific. ‘Changes’ is similar, an uninspired piano melody and the backing vocals just awkwardly sit on the chorus.
The catchiness of Acolyte is simply gone. ‘Freedom Found’ features some truly horrible high notes and a real lack of direction in the song sonically. ‘Of The Young’ is a fairly appealing track. ‘Atlas’ features an interesting guitar riff; it begins strongly and there’s a polyphonic chorus which vaguely resembled some of the previous material but then at around the 2 minute mark – BANG – dub-step drop. Just what is this band doing? Releasing such a promising debut album, they’ve thrown all the appeal and substance of Acolyte in the pursuit of tossing together a set of songs with elements of lots of different genres that ends up feeling loose and aimless. A shame really.
Listening to ‘Good Life’ (one of the Olympic singles), Delphic clearly still know how to make a catchy single, and this was such a promising track as it was announced at the same time that the album was being finalised, but it’s not featured on the album, which is perplexing. I truly appreciate the need for bands to branch out and try something different, but at this stage Delphic clearly can’t do it.By Francis Woodcock