Review Summary: Animal Collective having sex on the beach with David Morales - it's very good indeed.
As we slide into 2010 and leave the confusing, scattershot '00s behind, one question has been playing on my mind - just what will the '90s revival sound like? Nobody who's been paying attention will need to be told that every facet of the '80s, good or bad, was shamelessly regurgitated and picked apart last decade in literally every existing genre of pop music, so how will that continue through a new decade? I'll admit that my initial instinct was that it'd be horrible - all the best bits of the '90s never really went away (even if grunge just became Nickelback), and all the stuff that's been forgotten should stay that way. There's a very real possibility of an B*witched or Vengaboys revival, and I'd rather not be here when it happens, thanks.
So imagine my surprise when, not even five months into the new decade, I discover a band who's found a forgotten '90s sound worth remembering, and adapted it into a still-current genre without being tokenist, retro, dated, or ironic. How Delorean have done it, I don't know, but they sound like a band I've known and loved all my life. Maybe this is what 30 year-olds see in La Roux.
The one obvious comparison point for them is Animal Collective - there's little getting around the similarity in the vocals, certainly. Yet rather than being confused and uncertain about the layers of noise and the dance elements they're layering over the top of their songs, Delorean know exactly what they're doing - this is the pure blissful rush of late-'90s Balearic house, absorbed into indie pop. It's no surprise that they come from Barcelona, recorded this album only a few miles away from Pamplona, and DJ regularly in the area - it evokes the beaches of Ibiza so perfectly that at times, you need to stand back and remind yourself that you're listening to a guitar band. After being battered with dance-rock acts who don't understand the first thing about dance for the last five years, this is a revelation. Let's face it - for sheer cluelessness of the non-rock genres they're incorporating, indie-dance had become the new nu-metal. Delorean may as well be The Roots in that context.
Underneath it all, though, is an unmaskable pop instinct. The best dance music is completely communal, and this certainly is, but in a way that reaches beyond druggy summer holidays in the sun - because like all the most successful pop, it's completely effortless. There's not a single second on this album that's difficult to listen to, just as there's not a single second that sounds like it was difficult to write. A newcomer to music simply wouldn't believe that the rest of us need to interpret this as a blend of two separate genres, because everything comes together so naturally. The majestic opener and first single "Stay Close", with its cut-up vocal refrain, ravey percussion, and massed choral backing vocals recalling tiny bits of David Morales, Arcade Fire, Burial, DB Boulevard, A Guy Called Gerald, Modjo, and Temper Trap all at once, is the kind of song that inspires complete euphoria, and just a little twinge of sadness that not all music sounds this way.
With any luck, this'll be the soundtrack to the summer; if you're a part of my generation, and you've ever been interested in dance music, Subiza
will make you more nostalgic than any other album this year.