30
Jan
2013
Delphic: Collections
Collections
Darren
Bottom Line: WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY BEAUTIFUL ELECTRONIC SOUNDS AND WHY ARE YOU TRYING SO HARD TO SOUND LIKE MUSE?

Collections

Manchester indie trio Delphic seem like a group that had high hopes. Their 2010 debut Acolyte was an ambitious record that blended dance and electronic music with indie rock, and did so incredibly well in my opinion. When I'm discussing the portmanteau genre of "indietronica," I almost always feel compelled to mention Acolyte as a defining example of this amazing style. The album blends the synthesizer styles of new wave 80s groups like New Order (my favorite track "Doubt" in particular sounds a little like "Bizarre Love Triangle" during its bridge) and guitar-based indie rock, going between genres several times in the course of a song. If you take away anything from this review, know that Delphic's debut Acolyte was one of the best indietronica albums out there.


"¦.Not so much with their sophomore follow up Collections. The "-tronica" part of "indietronica" is essentially ignored on this album, with the exception of subtle backing keyboards that are far more gentle than the "˜bleeps' and "˜bloops' that created the dance beats on Acolyte. Essentially, this album can be summed up in the fact that it sounds way too much like Muse. Not that I dislike Muse at all, but holy hell does it try to sound like Muse. From vocalist James Cook trying to sound nearly identical to Matthew Bellamy to the grandiose nature of some tracks to the fact that the opening track "Of The Young" has the lyric "we can't choose resistance," the majority of the album sounds like a Muse outtake.

Nevertheless getting away from the Muse factor, the album also seems to be lacking a standout track that might redeem Delphic's sound and attract fans of their debut. Their single "Baiya" goes too many directions at once, containing a toned-down synth harmony, a vocal sample saying "you want it on the" to give the song a funky feel, and a layered chorus about "all hell is breaking loose" that gives the song an edge. And don't get me started on the song's pseudo-badass video that shows the band in suits fighting each other.
Other missteps include songs that are a little too pop-sounding for everything we've come to expect from Delphic. "The Sun Also Rises" sounds vaguely like Coldplay, and "Don't Let The Dreamers Take You Away" sounds like an aggressively mediocre R&B track. Then there's "Tears Before Bedtime," which is dominated by squeaky voice recordings of someone saying some sad stuff or other while a piano plays in the background. I have no idea what they were trying with this track, but it sounds like something Sigur Ros might have tried and then walked away from. And closer "Exotic" throws the rest of the album out the window with its R&B stylings AND THE INCLUSION OF A RANDOM RAPPER. WHERE DID YOU COME FROM RAPPER? RUN WHILE YOU CAN!

Maybe the album isn't a total wash. As much as "Freedom Found" sounds like Genesis with Matthew Bellamy instead of Phil Collins, it's not that unbearable. And album centerpiece "Atlas" may go on a little too long, but I kind of like the vocal harmony on it. And "Memeo," the most electronic track on the album, has a pretty good beat that sets it apart from the rest of the album. However, for the most part, I was honestly disappointed in Collections and hope it turns out to be a misstep in Delphic's catalogue, a sophomore slump. In the meantime, if anyone needs me, I'll be listening to the extensive dance beats on Acolyte's title track while curled in the fetal position on my floor.

Grade: C
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