Delphic shot to prominence in 2010 with their début album ‘Acolyte’. The band managed to create something bright and new by drawing on a wide range of influences including dance, electro and indie-rock. Their single Good Life was also one of the official songs for the Olympics.
Now forgot everything that Delphic were on ‘Acolyte’. ‘Collections’ is a huge shift away from the fast-paced electro-indie of their début. The album starts strongly with Of The Young and Baiya featuring powerful, catchy choruses, before moving on to the up-lifting Changes. The band combine traditional instruments, such as pianos, violins and electric guitars with the more forward-thinking use of synthesizers, but retain strong pop sensibilities. The drum beats are also unusual, and create an exotic atmosphere to the music. However, Atlas is the most interesting and boundary-pushing track of the album. The vocals are marvellous, with some excellent harmonies, and this holds the song together. The slow start develops into a strange distorted guitar breakdown, accompanied by a peculiar drum beat. The song climaxes with intense drumbeat and synth effects, and Cook’s voice slowly fading out. It feels as if the track is alive with a vibrant energy that never breaks loose, but lurks just beneath the surface.
Tears Before Bedtime features a voicemail message played over a sad piano track, with ghostly “oohs” creating a decidedly spooky atmosphere. It is a pleasant track, but placing such a slow, mellow track in the middle of the album causes all momentum to be lost. The Sun Also Rises is a strong track, again with a brilliant vocal performance. In a sonic landscape that sounds so sleek and modern, it’s reassuring to have an impressive voice to cling to. Cook’s vocals act almost like an island in a sea of strange and sometimes bewildering sounds. You might listen closely to the strong basslines, or the unusual drums but the vocals act as a safe zone to always return to.
It is with some upset then when Cook is replaced with a rapper on album closer Exotic, if only for verse. This doesn’t work at all, not only is Cook a far superior singer, but his vocals are perhaps the only thing to sound the same from ‘Acolyte’, and so to lose his vocals is like the band shedding the last of their identity. Aside from this, Exotic isn’t a particularly exciting track, and is a poor way to end the album.
‘Collections’ is a very strange album. It is an incredibly complex listen, and refuses to be confined by any one genre. The album sounds ahead of its time with its masterfully sleek production and the innovative and new sounds that feature throughout. Perhaps too innovative, it sounds so futuristic that it is almost like an alien presence in your ears. A great deal of patience and multiple plays are required when listening to the album, but given enough time, ‘Collections’ is a charming and engaging body of work.