Review Summary: Hype; It's a bitch isn't it.“Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment”
If you haven’t heard of Delphic yet, then by the end of 2010 you will have. The three-piece, hailing from Manchester, England, are yet the next in a line of bands to fuse indie and electronica and, like all up-and-comers in this genre, have already been subject to the inevitable hype train. In case you hadn’t noticed, the British music press has a tendency to hyperbole. For years, the biggest challenge for up and coming bands is that of overcoming the huge tabloid pressure by turning a few catchy singles into a well-structured, consistent album. Big hitting publications such as the NME and Q can decide the popularity and success of a record weeks before its official release date and in the case of Delphic their message comes through loud and clear. Delphic are the next big thing.
This by itself is no big deal, as the tabloids often know what the public want in regards to musical style. Mainstream appeal is a key component for any wannabe superstars and from lead single Counterpoint
it would seem Delphic have this in bucket loads. When this quality is combined with the stylish image and musical style echoing that of The Killers 6 years ago then it would seem Acolyte
was literally built for success. Unfortunately for Delphic they forgot to address a minor detail before releasing Acolyte
, namely that the music itself is little more than average. Despite this obvious flaw, the album actually starts out extremely promisingly. Intro Clarion Call
does everything one would expect of an opening track. The incremental increase of intensity as layer upon layer build on top of each other culminates in a hysterical urgency with the cumulative energy begging for a climax. The climax never comes. Worse news still is that by the end of the three minute opener the album has already peaked and Acolyte
has run its course.
What follows is a sequence of somewhat enjoyable, yet overly repetitive tracks that too often get bogged down into mediocrity via a lack of inspiration or, in the case of the microcosmic title track, due to a single idea being stretched beyond its limitations. In the case of Acolyte
the song, an ‘epic’ centrepiece, a promising initial idea is hindered by its slow development. As the longest song on the album, approaching nine minutes in length, a key attribute to its success is variety, and while Delphic understand this they do not expand enough upon the initial premise to hold attention throughout the span of the song. This theme is common among many of the admittedly shorter tracks. Doubt
sees Delphic try in vain to increase the albums intensity while on the heavily New Order styled Sympathy
the band even goes as far as to induce nostalgia, but the underlying formula remains the same and consequentially most tracks simply lose momentum well before their end.
Thankfully there are a few choice cuts that prevent Acolyte
from being a complete disaster. Aptly titled third single Halcyon
at least DOES SOMETHING amidst its tranquil rhythm while aforementioned opener Clarion Call
is the only song on the album that is truly exceptional. Lead single Counterpoint
also has unquestionable assets, none more so than a killer hook and possibly the best chorus on the album. All these positives seem to have a common factor and occur when the band stop trying too hard. When the trio forget the overbearing synths and auto-tuned vocals and instead play to complement each other then the music resembles that of a more mature band. Quite whether the band see it this way is another matter, but the majority of the material throughout Acolyte
would benefit vastly from a more relaxed custom and the crisp production will do the rest.
was indisputably created on the back other band’s successes, and while the style and image of the band is perfect from a marketing perspective, the material on their debut album comes short from a musical one. A formulaic song structure with few modifications and an over reliance on repetitive synth lines makes for a largely uninspired listening experience. However there are glimmers of hope for the band, and when they get the formula right the results are much improved. While no song on Acolyte
is good enough to stick in the memory, there is promise of better material in the future, and a more diverse blueprint would lead to a more consistent album. All this, however, won’t worry the record label, the producer of even the band themselves, because Acolyte
will sell in its thousands. If you haven’t heard of Delphic yet, by the end of 2010 you will have. Trust me, this year Delphic will explode.
Overall 2.5 Average