DELPHIC – Acolyte (Chimeric)

Manchester four-piece Delphic have been touted as the next big thing for quite a while now, and after six years of making music together (although only the last two under the Delphic name) people were beginning to wonder if they would ever come up with anything to justify this optimism. Now that their debut album has arrived we can hear if the hype was justified, and after a few listens I must admit that I am still in two minds. Most Mancunian bands from recent years have been young, snotty indie guitar types, but Delphic are more stylish than that, and are trying to bring back Factory Records, the Hacienda, and indie-dance music. There is nothing wrong with that, as New Order and The Happy Mondays would no doubt agree, but the major stumbling block is that if you don’t do it well it can sound instantly dated - witness the Editors last shambles of an album. ‘Clarion Call’ is an excellent start, with the electronics sounding thoroughly modern, and the song builds to a suitably athemic chorus. ‘Doubt’ steams along with a driving beat, and its infectious chorus made it an ideal choice for a single. ‘This Momentary’ (also a single) is more Pet Shop Boys than Factory, and comes replete with burbling sequencers and harmony vocals on the chorus, and is certainly chart-friendly if ultimately a little unfulfulling. ‘Red Lights’ is in the same style, but this time the band pull it off with a great amalgamation of dance beats and indie tunefulness – which is just as well as its lengthy six minutes would drag interminably had they not found their groove. The title track, though, is something else altogether. Starting with some slow chords and subdued bubbling synths, it soon picks up the pace and hurtles off into the distance, then slows down, then speeds up, adds in some New Order bass-lines, and then finally settles into a full-on dance-floor filler. It is a brave move putting a nine minute instrumental slap bang in the middle of your debut album, but as it is also one of the best tracks on here then it certainly worked for me. Current single ‘Halcyon’ is up next, and it has the necessary catchy chorus and insistent rhythms to grab your attention if you heard it coming out of a radio, while ‘Submission’ boasts a guitar solo that adds a heavy rock feel to the dance and indie already on display. ‘Counterpoint’ is all jerky sequencers and frenetic beats, and you can hear why the band chose it as their first single – if they wanted a song that hooked you on first hearing then this is it. It has been remixed and stretched out to over six minutes, and now stands out as one of the best songs on here. They close the album with the downbeat stylings of ‘Remain’, which is something of a comedown after the superb ‘Counterpoint’, but is nonetheless a pleasant little number. So, on the whole this is an excellent debut by a band who have the potential to become something much bigger. When they hit the spot they are stunning, and I suppose that you can forgive the odd filler here and there on your first effort, so definitely one that will be a frequent visitor to the player, and I look forward to hearing where they will go next.
Clarion Call