Album Review: Acolyte - Delphic

Delphic have always pretty much had 'BlackPlastic' written all over them. At least metaphorically speaking, though we are open to sponsorship deals. Their method of writing music using laptops and then recreating the result using live instruments tends to suggest the kind of rock-influenced-dance we go all wobbly for (and we certainly enjoyed 'Counterpoint').

So the debut album was always going to be anticipated - particularly when you throw in Ewan Pearson on production duties. The references are obvious - yes, Acolyte sounds a lot like some New Order and, to be honest, even more like 2008's Friendly Fires debut.

And whilst BlackPlastic loves both of those bands it is this inherent similarity that holds Acolyte down a little. There is a danger that they don't do enough to stand out, sometimes even from themselves, with certain songs sounding similar.

Yet they can clearly write a tune. Current single 'Doubt', with sample vox rhythms and near-spoken verse is all metallic perfection, less played and more built. Both 'This Momentary' and 'Counterpoint' tread a thin line between emotional technology and plain Emo, but ultimately feel all the more engaging for it. This is dance music for the car and the train journey - a nice rhythm but it is as more about the head as the feet.

It is title track 'Acolyte', 'Remain' and the catchy 'Red Lights' that make this album though. The former is the only true instrumental, rousing and epic like trance played by a live band, whilst 'Remain' is the closest the album gets to house, with a skippy beat and warmer bass combined with a melancholic piano refrain. As the album's last track proper it makes a fitting conclusion prior, although it is a shame the progressive house blast off of 'Afterstate' got relegated to an iTunes exclusive.

'Red Lights' is the opposite of these tracks - heady, excitable and quite probably ill-advised. It's the pre-credits airport taxi-dash into the arms of the unobtainable A-list movie star. It's the excitable first kiss of punching above your romantic weight. It's leaving behind jobs, problems and history. And the enthusiasm is beautifully infectious - like watching someone so in love that it rubs off.

What the above tracks prove is that Delphic are a better band than Acolyte is an album. The contrast of 'Doubt' to 'Remain' to 'Afterstate' to 'Acolyte' to 'Red Lights' - there are enough ideas here to make a great album, it is just that what remains feels a little sub-par in comparison.

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Acolyte is out now, available on on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].