Manchester electro pop trio Delphic are an unexpected success story. In 2010 they released their debut Acolyte acclaimed by critics and fans alike and joined Bloc Party on their European Tour. That was also when I first heard of the band and immediately fell in love with their melancholic dance sound.
After that Delphic disappeared for almost three years. It wasn’t until their contribution to the Olympic Games soundtrack this summer that they made their return. Three years of absence is certainly far too long for a band that hadn’t even been around that long in the first place. In those three years many other exciting electro-pop acts have emerged, such as Fenech-Soler, Man Without Country, I Heart Sharks, Alt-J, Everything Everything or Hooray for Earth that will make it even harder for Delphic to live up to the enormous success that Acolyte was.
Collections is a record that is generally a lot more poppy and brighter than its predecessor. It’s the jinxed sophomore album that cannot be a mere repetition of its precursor nor stray from it too far.
‘We get very angry about the state of popular music and we want to bloody change it. And why shouldn’t we?’ says frontman Rick Boardman. Delphic dabble in all kinds of genres with this album, be it hip hop (!), electronica, pop or house. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it sometimes just feels really forced, overproduced or simply out of place. Atlas, for example, starts like a typical Delphic song (in light of Acolyte) but halfway through the song it feels more like a remix due to the unlikely dub interlude. The single Baiya flirts with exotic funk sounds. If you didn’t like the single much, you won’t like the rest of the album either. On Changes they have a try at rap which doesn’t seem to want to fit the mellow chorus. On Exotic synthetic beat boxing is used as well as hip hop guest vocals.
The opener Of The Young (“The night is always of the young”) is an upbeat pop song that seems like an obvious choice for a second single but in parts it’s just a little too similar to fun.’s We Are Young (“Tonight, we are young”).
Boardman’s vocal range also seems too limited in same parts, like the falsetto over a 2:50 minute monologue on Tears Before bedtime.
“All hell is breaking lose” is the promise made by Delphic’s current single Baiya but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the album. It wasn’t until the seventh song of the 10 track album The Sun also Rises that Delphic were able to capture my attention with this mostly mid-tempo record. Other than The Sun also Rises the album doesn’t live up to the bold promise made in Baiya and is exceptionally dull and overproduced synth-pop (Freedom Found, Don’t Let The Dreamers Take You Away).
Granted that Delphic have moved on in their three years of absence but I’m afraid that so have their fans. ‘We’d been touring for two years,’ says Rick Boardman. “We were just creatively burnt out’. And it seems they still are.
Overall Collections is rather disappointing. It’s a mix rather than a collection and lacks cohesiveness. If you’re looking for a good electro pop album Everything Everything’s Arc or Ra Ra Riot’s Beta Love are the better choice at the beginning of this year.
Also published on Medium.