Album Review: Delphic – Acolyte

A little backstory: Delphic is a four-piece band out of Manchester, UK. The British press went crazy for them last year after the release of their single “Counterpoint” in April, and “This Momentary” last August. In addition to making the festival rounds, the band landed a cell phone commercial, received lauds for one of their music videos, and were ranked #3 on the BBC’s Sound of 2010 list. And while their debut, Acolyte, dropped in the UK this past January, it’s finally made its way overseas.

The concept is good: long songs, dance floor beats, lengthy, shifting bridges augmented by verse-chorus song structure. But combining indie rock with straight-up dance music can lead to some bad tasting results, and Acolyte is no exception. Take the title track, for instance. It’s a nine minute foray into build-and-release house music, layered with beeps, ticks, and a heavy bass line. There’s nothing new or interesting about it, it’s similar to anything played at a rave in the mid-90’s. The music endlessly pecks away at the back end of your brain without fully engaging the cerebellum, and then the light at the end of the tunnel? Generic electro Brit-indie rock in the form of “Halcyon.” It doesn’t fit; combining run of the mill techno with Bloc Party-like verses is not an idea worthy of musical exploration, apparently.

It’s not all bad though; some will surely find solace in the building loops of “This Momentary”. There are moments of beauty in the mid-song ooh’s and whoa’s, and the pounding drums lend a sense of immediacy to the overall pleasing number. Second track “Doubt” is one of the better results. The chorus is catchy, the guitar weaves delicately around the electronic loops, and there’s a stop and go near the end of the song that has a decent kick to it. But the album doesn’t gel, picking through the Coldplay balladry of “Remain” or the bad New Order attempt of “Submission” is a daunting task, and not one worthy of repeated attempts.

It’s unfortunate, the lack of quality music coming from the other side of the pond, and Delphic doesn’t really do anything to help the situation. Their approach to music is tedious but not very creative, the lyrics are weak and generic, and the songs have very little payoff. However, the package is shiny and the delivery well done; if they keep it up, maybe they’ll land a cover on NME.


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