Bosco Delrey has attracted some interesting comparisons since his first material arrived in late 2010. In fact, the boss of Delrey’s label, DJ and producer Diplo, describes him as “a sort of garbage can Elvis from New Jersey… teaspoon of craziness, a pinch of rockabilly, and full cup of soul dressed in a leather jacket”. There is definitely a compliment mixed up in there somewhere. Delrey does exude a similar confident swagger to The King on his debut album, entitled Everybody Wah. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that Delrey’s experimental rock sound has graced the soundtrack to the Stateside version of Skins, the TV show that attempts to capture teenage life as effortlessly cool and edgy. Everybody Wah is full of the lo-fi guitars and distorted sounds that often tend to fit shows like Skins down to the ground.
The album kicks off with the sultry groove of Baby’s Got A Blue Flame, with Delrey’s fuzzy, chugging guitars providing the perfect opening refrain to an album that, at times, oozes style. It’s followed by the more lackadaisical sound of Get Out Dodge, which ambles along until a psychedelic vintage synthesizer effect warbles all over the top of the effervescent guitar melody. Delrey is certainly fond of layering his songs, with the toe-tapping beat of Don Haps joined by a bluesy twanging guitar and further distortion, as Delrey’s growling, Mick Jagger-esque vocals are seamlessly intertwined.
The two songs featured in Skins, Glow Go The Bones and Cool Out, both make an appearance on Everybody Wah. Glow Go The Bones is incredibly infectious, with its repetitive shuffling beat rumbling over the top of a sprawling electric organ. Cool Out is a completely different beast, though. It’s easy to see how it made the Skins soundtrack, providing a near 4-minute crash of mad, dance-infused, psychedelic noise that would be the perfect companion to the most vivid acid trip. While Delrey hits the right note frequently during his debut LP, there are a few misses. Archebold Ivy is another unrestrained, rough-and-ready track, but unlike Cool Out, its strong, electro-tinged chunking beat is both irritating and instantly forgettable.
Expelled Spelled Expelled sounds like a B-Side from The Strokes most recent album, with Delrey’s distant vocals drifting aimlessly around the stuttering, wishy-washy keyboard. There is an array of influences throughout Everybody Wah, with Delrey clearly using the experience he gained supporting other genre-blurring acts like Sleigh Bells and CSS. While it’s easy to get drawn to the brasher, more audacious tracks on the album, there are some welcome intervals. Afterlife possesses an intoxicating melody, which gently grooves along with vibrant underlying synths, as Delrey repeatedly sings, “The ghost train to nowhere”. It’s a track that is compelling and alluring in equal measure. Down We Go is also much more stripped back, focusing entirely on Delrey’s laid-back guitar melody that slowly meanders along, until it’s greeted by a spacey, vibrating synth.
In another unexpected twist, the album closer, 20 Flight Dub, sees Delrey experiment with a galloping electronic beat and wide, expansive wall-of-sound. It’s a surprising conclusion to an album that never rests on its laurels. The first half of Everybody Wah is certainly stronger, absorbing the sounds of 60s rock with an electronic twist, while the second half tends to vary substantially in quality. Whether Delrey will make a bigger impact outside America on the back of Everybody Wah is questionable, but there is something fascinating in his rough around the edges, electronic-charged rock. Bosco Delrey’s debut may not be groundbreaking, but it’s a solid first album.