"Art is not a thing; it is a way."

Elbert Hubbard

Saturday, July 17, 2010

ACOLYTE (Delphic)

  1. Clarion Call
  2. Doubt
  3. This Momentary
  4. Red Lights
  5. Acolyte
  6. Halcyon
  7. Submission
  8. Counterpoint
  9. Ephemera
  10. Remain

The cover of Acolyte, the debut album from four-piece electro-pop Delphic, suggests quite clearly the airiness and atmosphere that lays hidden within its fifty-odd minutes of playtime. Hailing from Greater Manchester, the quartet - made up of Richard Boardman, Matt Cocksedge, James Cook and Dan Hadley - are an exciting by-product of the noughties electro-synth revival that is severely and unapologetically throwing back to the eighties but with gusto and a clear sense of reform.

What seems to be differentiating the onslaught of the work being produced now is a reliance on tightly written lyrics and an understanding that what is being said is in most cases now more important than ever. Sure, the sentiment of love lost and growing up maybe the same but there's a sophistication present now that really only graced the work of a few during the eighties pop scene, particularly in the UK. As the Internet makes accessibility to work easier the smaller and more alternative artists are finding their work being noticed and whilst there is an absolute deluge of crap soaking the airwaves there are those little gems that seem to be getting the airplay that may have, in the past, eluded them.

Delphic's debut LP is a prime example of that in there really is no scene-stealing, top-charting single amongst the ten tracks, however, what mixes together is a lovely bunch of truly beautiful and atmospheric odes to growing older and to young love in this generation of mass communication and media. From the shifting beat and lovely introduction of the electronic sounds that soak Acolyte in the first track, 'Clarion Call', Delphic do one thing well and that's not to distract from the melodies they've done wonders in creating. The electronic beats only add in the case of track 1 helping build it to its climax. It's a killer start and with an anthemic lyric line running through it, "A call to all. A call to arms. A call to everything you wanted. It's your life. It's your life. It's your life," it's no wonder why Delphic seemed to be getting responses from their fans.

Track 2, 'Doubt', lays testament to the cleverness of their writing too as it begins with the sounding out of the vowels in a prelude to a barrage of energetic questions that really in the end, as they suggest, do leave nothing but doubt. Other tracks that hit the mark, such as 'Remain', 'Counterpoint' and 'This Momentary', rely on their lyrical strength but it's when they combine perfectly with the music as is the case in the album's two best tracks, 'Red Lights' and 'Halcyon' that Delphic hit paydirt. Neither offering an indictment of their generation or of young love, 'Red Lights' is a mere representation of the single-mindedness that seems to be helping their generation to get what it is that they want. If saying, "I wouldn't stop for red lights. I wouldn't come up for air," isn't clear enough, what is?

That leaves other questions to be asked but in this case they're irrelevant. It'll be interesting to see whether Delphic address them in their future. If Acolyte is anything to go by we can only hope that they do and in much the same way they have here. Acolyte is a cracker.

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