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.

BP x

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

MP3: Counterpoint (Remixed by The Chain) - Delphic

More Delphic news as their single 'Counterpoint' (reviewed by BlackPlastic a couple of weeks ago here) has been remixed by The Chain and is available for download over at the R&S site.

The fact it's up for download at R&S is perhaps no surprise as The Chain are Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy, the former being the label's A&R for R&S (sorry, acronym overload...) but also a relatively well known DJ and producer.  The duo have previously released together as Foat & Boddy on Mule Electronic and Nathan has also released under 'Office Gossip' on the label he co-runs, Winding Road.

The Chain are soon to release their debut 12", Letting Go / Geo, but in the meantime check out this mix of the emotive 'Counterpoint'.  The influences of Detroit techno are clear and the mix has a dubby feel but is shot through with a lovely twinkling synth that really comes through in the break.

Head on over to R&S Records to grab the download.

BP x

Single Review: Counterpoint - Delphic

If this is anything to go by then we just might have stumbled across one of 2009's most exciting new bands. Foraging similar territories as BlackPlastic favorites Friendly Fires, Delphic mold a true hybrid between rock and epic, spaced out house music.

Only just entering their second year as a band Delphic come up with their music together on laptops and only then do they figure out how to play it live, laying instruments over the top before finally taking to the stage to perform their songs together in one continuous set.  From what BlackPlastic can hear it sounds like a pretty good system.

First singe 'Counterpoint' is produced by Ewan Pearson and it's a shimmering piece of electronic rock that sounds like an emotional two-finger salute, a celebration of the summer and a call for help all in one.  The video, directed by hAndz, is also quite cool:

Pearson is to start work on producing the debut album soon, meaning it should be one to look out for. Don't just take our word on it - we have a download of Delphic performing 'Counterpoint' live in Amsterdam here (right click, save as).

'Counterpoint' is released on 13 April 2009 on R&S.  Delphic - website / MySpace / Twitter.

Ewan Pearson on Twitter.

BlackPlastic on Twitter.

BP x