Darren Hayes
This Delicate Thing We've Made


3.0
good

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
August 24th, 2007 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A potentially brilliant electro-pop album ruined by too much, too much of everything.

Is Darren Hayes feeling OK?

The cherub-voiced former face of kitsch Aussie pop duo Savage Garden, Hayes has sort of fallen by the wayside in recent years. With Savage Garden, he racked up a staggering 23 million record sales during a brisk run of four years and two studio albums; so far, his two solo records have failed to measure even a tenth of that total. The second, 2004’s The Tension And The Spark was a spectacular move for the singer, taking the electronic leanings of 2002’s Spin well beyond its logical conclusion. So spectacular was it, indeed, that Sony soon agreed to terminate his contract; as it happens, the best thing that could possibly have happened to him. Free from major label pressures, he was free to indulge himself as an artist and fashion effortlessly uncool roller disco pop on his own clock, at his own expense.

So I ask: is Darren Hayes feeling OK?

Since his discreet split with Sony, electro-pop has inadvertently become pop’s most valuable commodity, and Darren’s ability to splice saccharine pop melodies with interesting beats and semi-complex electronic arrangements the musical equivalent of hot shit; an argument borne out by the fact he’s managed to create such a buzz about This Delicate Thing We’ve Made, despite the complete absence of a major label, a twenty-five track, two-hour run time, and a suicidal lead single choice in ‘On The Verge Of Something Wonderful.’ It’s all but a cliché by now to say about double albums, but in this case it’s strikingly true: This Delicate Thing We’ve Made could make a great single-disc album; as a double-album, it’s long, it’s indulgent and it’s a trying test of the goodwill generated by the record’s occasionally brilliant pop moments. More importantly, it begs the question: why would a professional pass up

While never particularly original, This Delicate Thing We’ve Made’s various sounds are held together by generally strong melodies and Hayes’ enviable vocal range. His voice remains his most powerful instrument, and he uses it to great effect, appropriating Kate Bush’s high-pitched cry, Sinéad O’Connor’s banshee wail and Prince’s multi-part harmonies without losing the essential character which makes his voice so distinctive. Side two’s opener ‘The Future Holds A Lion’s Heart’ is an unashamed tribute to Bush- look to the title for a clue- an infectious pop number which melds clever Cure-like synthwork with a stripped-down Timbaland beat. Club hit ‘Step Into The Light’ is just as immediate, building from an intro of theatrical rock piano and choral vocals to a Madonna-like dance number complete with a techno beat 2 Unlimited would be proud of (only now they’ll be screaming “yes, yes, yes.”)

Disc one closer ‘The Great Disconnect’ stands well out despite the range of material on offer, a folky pseudo-protest song which aims for a campfire sing-a-long feel, and, despite the electronic accompaniment, does manage to emulate that type of intimacy. The lyrics, however, are embarrassing even by the standards of the American Idiot-era political song. The sentiment is commendable, if not exactly interesting, but couplets like “You’ve got AIDS in Africa/You’ve got Paris in a new sports bra” and Tom Cruise’s fave one-liner “You’ve got therapists to justify your behaviour” would be filed under parody were it not for the almost pathetic sincerity with which they’re delivered. Likewise, the ‘Housequake’/’SexyBack’ mash-up ‘Bombs Up In My Face’ aims to emulate Sign ‘o’ The Times’ stream-of-consciousness social narrative but, in the words of another critic, sounds like “what you might imagine Prince [would] sound like if you’d only ever had his music described by someone who hates music.” The lyrics are a never-ending source of confusion; besides the badly-aimed political tirades, he inexplicably discusses quantum physics at several points, his lyrics obviously feeling the strain of having to keep up with his prolific musical output.

In the end, This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is undone by too much, too much, too much of everything. Too many ideas aren’t allowed to compete with each other, meaning that the bad ideas are given just as much importance as the good ones. Tellingly, the album’s credits don’t list an executive producer: the very person whose function it is to rein in this kind of madness. Symptomatic of the album as a whole, the arrangements range from breath-taking to downright pitiful. Some, particularly those of returning producer Robert Conley, are a joy to behold: imaginative and modern-sounding, despite the retrospective nature of the material. Justin Shave’s arrangements are a little more mixed; he’s responsible for the innovative, bodhrán-like percussion of opener ‘Fear Of Falling Under’ and the Enya-like pizzicato strings of ‘Neverland,’ yet he must also share the blame for the godawful sped-up vocals on ‘Bombs Up In My Face’ and the dodgy vocoder rap that breaks up ‘Me, Myself & I.’ Still, he’s obviously a Prince fan, so props for that.



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user ratings (25)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
August 24th 2007


3553 Comments


Yeah, this is basically what I figured this would be like.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2007


2688 Comments


Two hours of electro-pop is suicide, dude.

JTV
August 24th 2007


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thank god we've live in an ipod era if you don't have the time to listen to a masterpiece in complete.This Message Edited On 08.24.07

samthebassman
August 25th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds interesting.

I loved Savage Garden but I have never really gotten into the solo thing.

AtavanHalen
August 26th 2007


17927 Comments


Very intrigued to hear this record.

samthebassman
August 26th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Starting to give this a good listen now and so far I'm loving it, although I tend to agree with your critique of his lyrics.

emogangstascotty
August 27th 2007


472 Comments


I DID not know he was gay. Did not, indeed sir

samthebassman
August 28th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was fairly obvious I thought.

emogangstascotty
August 28th 2007


472 Comments


Truly Madly Deeply was sweet. But im very happy for him and wish him the best. His work on SG was "wow"

AtavanHalen
September 16th 2007


17927 Comments


On The Verge Of Something Wonderful is AWESOME.

TheDavey
September 21st 2007


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love that Darren Hayes wanted to give his fans as much music as possible, but there are some songs that this album could have done without. However, I think that the best songs on this album more than make up for its weaker moments, and its length. The bridge section of "Who Would Have Thought" made this CD worth the 20 bucks for me. Its the best moment from an album that has lots of good ones.

emogangstascotty
September 26th 2007


472 Comments


I wonder if he'll ever get back with SG...

thelawler
October 8th 2008


42 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Jom I would most likely agree that two hours of electro-pop is suicide, But for some reason I cannot get enough of this album and I usually hate this type of music but I love Darren's vocals and the dark feel to the album "Who would Have Thought" is an incredible song. I never liked Savage Garden in fact I hated their music but this album is amazing as is Darren's last album "The Tension & The Spark"

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2010


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's a good (if not great) album, and this is also an excellent review.

I just can't get over the ridiculous lyrical error Hayes makes in track #4 - How To Build A Time Machine; he sings "If I have understood correctly, velocity equals the distance traveled divided by time."

There's a difference between displacement and distance traveled lol. But that's just the keener in me ranting there.

Funeralopolis
May 5th 2013


11565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

review makes some good points album is still pretty great though

Digging: Black Milk - If There's a Hell Below



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