31 January 2010
The first of 2010's best prospects turns out a bit of a mixed bag.
Yes, that's right. They've got some great singles, they've got good potential, they've... very obviously borrowed a lot of ideas. Not that it stopped me naming them my pick of the year's new crop - but let me just point out that it was before I bought their debut album "Acolyte".
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad album by any means but if you looked at the success rate of each of its tracks, there would be a distinct mountain range dipping between the brilliant and the simply okay.
It's probably not right to go track by track since including opener "Clarion Call" would be a bit unfair considering its only really a short introductory pathway through to their killer track "Doubt". The layers of "Doubt" can only truly be heard through the magic of headphones when all the little nuances reveal themselves (much better than say, a scratchy CD player or a muffly laptop with teeny little speakers). "This Momentary" is a slow burner that shows that they can do gentler tracks. This is possibly my favourite of all the tracks on "Acolyte". It's just a shame that "This Momentary" has been out so long as a Kitsune single and yet they haven't truly developed these ideas across a whole album.
"Red Light", for instance, is at first a promising follow up to "This Momentary" but last so long. So very long. So much longer than a track like this truly should. It erodes you like sandstone in a hurricane after about two and a half minutes and only continues for what seems like hours, the repetitive lyrics that make "This Momentary" seem good weigh "Red Light" down like so many lead balloons. Its not easy going. This is luckily followed by a couple of good tracks, the first being entirely instrumental (and oddly enough a thousand times more engaging and captivating than "Red Light" ever could be) and the second being "Counterpoint", their very first single. It's a mix of both "Doubt" and "This Momentary", and Delphic manage to get the balance right between more hushed electro and straightforward pop. Here they show what they can do and that you can have a six-minute-odd track that doesn't become overly repetitive or soul sapping (there are plenty of them out there of course, but many others fail to stop the formula becoming cloying).
"Submission", too, has elements of this balance but cannot reach the giddy heights of any of the singles - after four minutes the invention seems to fade away a little and it's hard to tell where this track ends and the next one begins. Maybe I spaced out at this point, wondering when the next big single was coming along. It doesn't.
It is very possible that this will be Delphic's problem. They have the potential to make good songs, but meld this idea with trying to be dancey resulting in a mish-mash of brilliant electro moments and fairly generic six-minute trudges. It is also possible that their obsession with making long tracks (few on "Acolyte" are less than five minutes long) is hampering their capability to be truly captivating. This is such a shame considering the initial promise they gave us. Use the scissors next time boys.