Delphic - Acolyte - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Delphic - Acolyte

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-01-11

So we're led to believe that, following La Roux and Little Boots in 2009, this year it's time for the boys to channel their inner Molly Ringwald. And no band seems as perfectly poised right now to make good on this new fad than Manchester's Delphic. These lads know how to combine synths'n'guitars and beats'n'angularity into an appealing, polished, sophisticated whole. You'll already be familiar with 'Doubt', a gorgeous, stuttering electro-pop tune shot through with just the right amount of angst. But, you might ask, is there anything under the surface? And, more pertinently, since we already have Hot Chip, and since they do a bloody good job of this sort of lark, do we really need Delphic at all?

These are questions which Delphic spend the entirety of Acolyte dodging. Everything here is exquisitely realised but somewhat lacking in soul. The songs on Acolyte are also terribly samey, not just in comparison with each other but also with much of what you'll have been listening to over the last year. 'This Momentary' owes a debt to Jack Penate with its combination of tumbling Balearic beats and indie urgency. 'Submission' has the same sparkly disco chops sported by Friendly Fires. That's not to say these songs are bad - they're not. But the listener could be forgiven for experiencing a sense of déjà vu and perhaps checking that they are definitely listening to a band tipped by many as one of the bright hopes of 2010, not 2009 or 2008. Or, come to that, 1983. Because, without a doubt, Delphic's greatest inspiration is New Order at their post-punk-goes-to-the-disco peak. The title track of this album recreates that sense of euphoria mixed with small town alienation which New Order patented in the early 80s, and almost every track is propelled forward by a classic Hooky bassline.

But New Order sealed their legacy by taking groundbreaking sounds from New York's underground club scene and creating a space for them in the mainstream. Delphic seem content to take what's already in the mainstream and just serve it back to us, albeit better realised in terms of production and song craft than some of their contemporaries are capable of. Their music may gleam and twinkle seductively, but the lack of substance has the effect of making the songs on Acolyte sound rather empty, like a brand new shopping centre with no one in it.

Richard Morris

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