Release Date: Jan 28, 2013
Record label: Polydor
Manchester four-piece Delphic have never been ones to play by the rules – back in 2010 when they cropped up on the BBC Sound Of… list, they felt exciting, gleaming in the synth-washed grandeur – distanced from their fellow Northern peers, a force fighting against the then-decline of XFM-friendly indie frippery. Their debut LP Acolyte was a stunning achievement – by far one of the strongest debuts of the year, critics and fans alike bending over backwards to hail them as New Order born-again; fawning at their immaculately glossy future-electronica. Records like the six-minute Counterpoint were crystalline capsules of wonder – shot at light-speed from the 41st century via the hallowed floor and sparkling lights of the Hacienda.
Delphic's debut album, Acolyte, was one of the hits of 2010 for its fizzing indietronica, a more youthful take on the collision of electronics and rock perfected by Manchester predecessors New Order. The trio's second album makes a determined shift to find their own sound. There are stronger vocals and conventional – almost mainstream pop songwriting – and the musical template that dips into everything from dubstep to bhangra.
Delphic is a band capable of creating glorious moments within mediocre songs. Yet the Manchester trio’s debut, 2010’s Acolyte, still had enough instances of joy to warrant repeat listens. Delphic’s sophomore release, Collections, applies the same practice of greater parts than wholes, but replaces the former album’s New Order homages with tastes even more mainstream in nature.
It was a rare thing that Delphic managed with their debut album, welding rock and dance, melody and beats in a way that didn’t suck, and all the more commendable considering the depths that Hadouken! were plundering around the same time. Even three years on, Acolyte maintains an urgency and immediacy that few crossover records possess: it was derivative, sure, but it made the familiar seem vibrant, even essential. But that’s a precarious alchemy, and from the off it’s pretty clear that Collections hasn’t got it quite right.
Three years ago, Manchester triad Delphic were paying solemn tribute to New Order, with their aptly-named debut, Acolyte. Collections, their second effort, mislays what little charm Delphic possessed, tilting at the big pop statement in uneven bursts. Everything on Collections is ramped up: breakbeats boof portentously, while Delphic's sleek edges now squeak like an over-enthusiastic 80s wax job.
Delphic’s debut album was a fine collection of New Order-influenced electro-pop, but their second long-player sees the Manchester three-piece claiming inspiration from further afield, notably American R&B and hip hop heavyweights such as Jay-Z and Frank Ocean. The result is an altogether more slinky record but, at times it veers surprisingly close to pure pop territory. Lead single ‘Baiya’ is a case in point, sounding more Britney than ‘Blue Monday’.The centrepiece of the album is the six-minute state of the nation address ‘Atlas’.
An underwhelming second album that misfires more than not. Ben Hewitt 2013 Most dance-rock hybrids mutate into hideous beasts: dull, unimaginative or plain embarrassing creations that should, by rights, be locked in one’s attic and kept away from human eyes (and ears). It’s curious, then, that Delphic didn’t scoop more plaudits for bucking the trend with their 2010 debut Acolyte: hyped to the heavens when still in their infancy, and yet oddly overlooked when they came good with the spoils.