New Album Reviews – do we believe the NME?

I promised last week when I was sidetracked by Sunderland's disaster at Chelsea to come back to the Delphic album so here we are.

Firstly, is it good?  Yes.  If you’re a fan of indie / rock / dance, interesting enough to be credible and repay multiple listening, but immediate and tuneful enough to use as pleasant background music while you check Facebook, write reports on government procurement, or review albums on your blog.

Is it going to change the world?  No.  Are they going to be as big as Bloc Party?  Perhaps, and that comparison from my friend here is perceptive.  The New Order comparison on reflection is more valid than I first thought although Delphic are often  guitar rather than keyboard driven and the songs have looser, more flexible rhythmic patterns and structures compared to the Germanic influences of New Order.   But more recent indie / dance precedents like Friendly Fires , Hot Chip, and the Foals seem to be nearer the mark.   So, all in all, I’m pretty much aligned with most of the critics here.  NME made it 8 out of 10 and I think I’m with them.

However, they do transgress one of Smith’s golden rules of pop music, which states clearly that artists should seek my personal permission before any song is allowed to last for more than 4 minutes.  8 out of 10 songs here break the rule; a bit much. That’s not to say it will never be allowed, and Counterpoint here, the stand out track on the album, would be given a permit, as would (for instance) Born to Run and All my friends by LCD Soundsystem.

The other album that NME has raved over in recent weeks is Teen Dream by Beach House, which scored a huge 9 on the NME scale.  It has split the critics though; the Times, Belfast Telegraph (good rock reviews) and Independent give it 4 stars (out of 5), the Telegraph and FT only 2 (who knew the FT had a rock critic, eh?)

It is being streamed via the NME website and I’ve listened to it twice so far without being knocked out.  It is very pleasant and listenable; brings to mind the ‘easier’ bits of My Bloody  Valentine (although the distorted guitar on Norway a la MBV just sounds annoying to me), Fleet Foxes without the vocal attack and with simpler harmonies, Beach Boys or Animal Collective at their less musically complex.  That all sounds a little damming and it isn’t meant to.  Songs such as Lover of Mine and Zebra are very lovely; tuneful, mainly upbeat yet plaintive, and evocative of both sunny lazy evenings and wistful lost love.  If you like those four bands I’ve just mentioned, you will certainly enjoy this; and it is probably a “buy it once it is down to £5"  for me (being an old fashioned purchaser of hard copy music).  But 9 out of 10?  I don’t think so; an honest 7 I would say.

Voices (2)

  1. adfunk101:

    Another 9/10 album in NME this month is Hidden by These New Puritans which is also Rough Trade Shops album of the month. It’s certainly an interesting listen, remeniscent of Tricky & Massive Attack in places. I’ll be posting a review in the next few days.

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