The daunting prospect of a follow up album gets the better of so many including Arcade Fire, Interpol and British Sea Power. However others have flourished under the pressure, including the Killers who after Hot Fuss released the magnificent Sam’s Town. Now, after a three year gap of touring and writing new material, Delphic, the Manchester three piece, are back with their follow up to the vastly popular Acolyte to see if they can achieve what so few have. However this return has an element of sophistication and a deeper sound in Collections, the title that is reminiscent of the journey that has been taken. The self confessed “studioheads” had claimed to be “just creatively burnt out” after their debut album however this new album shows no signs of exhaustion, if anything a fresh start following the success of their Olympic song ‘Good Life’.
The album starts with the powerful ‘Of The Young’ a song which sounds like a continuation of ‘Good Life’; it’s a perfect opener. The fast electro feel is cut down throughout to slower diminutions of epic beginnings; it draws you in from the start and is the first sign of a great album. This is then followed up with the earlier released ‘Baiya’ which sees a transition to the earlier Delphic sound, and combines everything that got them their popularity. The lyrics are clever, yet possess a quality that differentiate them from a standard pop song. It is reminiscent of 80’s synth pop, and this is no bad thing as some of the greatest artists were formed in this era. “All hell is breaking loose” is the chorus and I think if you are expecting a Delphic album that is a copy of Acolyte you’re in for a surprise as the transformation is something that will not only be unexpected but also a great relief. Agreed the song ‘Changes’ after ‘Baiya’ isn’t the best, but for a follow up album, one out of ten isn’t bad.
The next track ‘Freedom Found’ is a great song, it has great vocals mixed with a mellow backing which create a warm sound for these snowy months we are experiencing. On the other hand it has to be said that the track is overlooked by the masterpiece that is ‘Atlas’; the song is a little piece of gold within an already gleaming album. The track seems to take on a combination of Noah and the Whale mellow and Everything Everything excitement. The song cannot be faulted the lyrics are deep, “When you wake up, lift you head, take a look around now” and “all the weight of the world”, the band have really thought this one through and it is a triumph which is worth the efforts.
The second half of the album continues at the same level as the first; you have the contrasting ‘The Sun Also Rises’ where the descriptions of being ‘young again’ portray the album title once more, with ‘Tears Before Bed Time’ and it’s sombre tones. ‘Memeo’ is another upbeat track on the album and it has a similar feel to ‘Baiya’. It appears the band have put serious thought into balancing out ‘Collections’ to mix together the slow and fast compositions. Similarly there is ‘Don’t Let The Dreamers Take You Away’ which is comprable to ‘Atlas’, however not to the extent the track has been copied, but like the latter it is another artistic song. The end song of Collections left me a little deflated however; ‘Exotic’ mixes rap with the Delphic synth and it simply doesn’t work, and it is a real disappoint from what is a great album to end on this note. There is nothing exotic about this song, it just sounds out of place.
Whether it be a collection of band influences in the album, or a collection of experiences as a band, the album title is perfectly fitting for what is a very good album. Although it’s slower than the upbeat Acolyte, the album has tracks such as ‘Baiya’ and ‘Atlas’ to contend with ‘Counterpoint’ and ‘Halcyon’. It’s an album that is hard to dislike; it contains tracks for everyone, and if the album was performed from start to finish as a live set you would find very few disappointed. One worth a purchase most definitely, let’s hope eventually on the high street once more.
Daniel is listening to Swim Deep – ‘Honey’