Having spent much of 2009 making a name for themselves through constant touring, topped off with a slot on Later… With Jools Holland, it was no surprise to find Delphic coming third in the BBC Sound Of 2010 poll. And they’re not going waste that spotlight, with debut album Acolyte being released just one week into the new year.
Much has been said about Delphic hailing from Manchester. It’s a city with a long heritage in the kind of music that manages to stay interesting, edgy and commercial. The Smiths, New Order, The Stone Roses and Oasis all somehow seemed to capture the mood of their time. And Delphic are another one to add to that list. After 20 years of it, it might not sound that zeitgeisty to claim to be a band that merges the indie band ethic with electronics, but every year brings with it new achievements. While American bands like MGMT and Passion Pit have been leading the way recently, these three Englishmensuggest the action is not confined to Stateside.
Their musical agenda was set out by a couple of singles last year, Counterpoint and This Momentary. Their melodies are understated and the electronic backing is discreet. As a result, the album can take a few listens, but it does get under your skin and emerges as a record that will work to almost any environment.
And yes, Delphic do recycle. You will hear New Order on Submission, Underworld on This Momentary and Bloc Party on Counterpoint. But they recycle well, managing to do it with gravitas. Reining in the excesses of Klaxons, Acolyte feels like a serious album.
The title track supplies Acolyte’s heart. Lyric-free, it weighs in at nearly nine minutes, which fly past as its pace switches between chilled out Ibizan bliss and storming clubfloor anthem. With its onslaught of beeps and crescendos and an echoing vocal drifting in and out of the background, it owes much more to Orbital than the cheekily-titled track Halcyon.
The oracle that is the Sound Of 2010 poll has probably got it right here, in that the sound of Delphic may well be heard all over the place this year. However the songs’ understated nature makes it hard to pick out obvious hit singles, so don’t be surprised if we get to the end of the year and it’s still only those in the know who know.
And yet, while it may be too early in the year to be talking in superlatives, Delphic have started 2010 as we all hope it will go on – with superb music.