Tag Archives: Acolyte

10 Records in 10 Days: Day Five

15 Feb

Welcome back to 10 Records in 10 Days. A Facebook chain-turned 10 day blog series. The concept is simple. ”Post an album a day covering your 10 all time favourite albums. What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list, even if only now and then? Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same”.

We’ve been nominated but rather than post without explanation, we thought it would be more fun to provide a little context. That is just the first of the rules we plan to break in this series. We are also not nominating anyone else (if you want to join in, you are more than welcome to do so) and we are also not adhering to any of the other implied rules either.

For the purpose of this series, we’ll be posting in the first person.

Day five brings a much more recent record than the previous four days. It also brings a record that pretty much kickstarted my whole ‘write about music’ thing.


Delphic – Acolyte

Since its release in 2010, Delphic’s Acolyte has been a permanent fixture on each and every device I own. More than any other album it is the one I love listening on my headphones to the most and it is the one I love to walk to. From the opening bars of “Clarion Call’ and the gentle ebbing build of synth on synth that explodes at the 1.28 mark into a vast, euphoric blit of electronics and beats, I am roused into a sense of energy and powerfulness. It’s my aural Sword of Grayskull.

This is an album that feels ultra modern yet deliciously retro at the same time. Melodic, full of pinpoint accurate electronic attacks on your senses blended with smooth synth-harmonies, Acolyte reaches back into the 80’s and channels the high points of both New Order and the Pet Shop Boys with some of U2’s anthemic pop thrown in for good measure.

No matter how many times I listen, it still reaches in and penetrates soul and positively affects my mood. It’s got to the point now where each of the 10 tracks feels like a familiar friend. I remember previous listens, previous walks through darkness, or snow, or bright sunshine, weaving through the streets of the city, each song a soundtrack to my journey.

The guitars give the sound a frenetic indie-pop feel as they supercharge the synths that flash and fire with laser like precision. It’s a fabulous collection of individual tracks, but more than that it is a superbly crafted album that works as a single holistic entity. Like the best night out you’ve ever had, it keeps building and building to the blissful euphoria of “Counterpoint”, before settling into the chilled out come down of “Ephemera” and “Remain”.

Listening now, again, the feelings are the same as they were when I first heard Acolyte eight years ago. I can’t listen without smiling, without tapping my feet or nodding my head or without bopping along in some form or another.

It’s strange, all the new records I discover now, for all the records I listened to as a kid, for and the impact each one has had, for the memories and the awakenings that they brought, perhaps more than any other, Acolyte feels like it is my album.

Delphic – Get Familiar (free download)

23 Apr

Delphic Get Familiar

Over the last few days there have been murmurings coming from deep within Manchester. There’ve been whispers of an imminent announcement that would bring joy to many and seek to re-establish a successful entity that had fallen foul of a new direction. Then on Tuesday it all came to a head and across the land there was much speculation as to what this meant and what would happen next. For it was on Tuesday that Delphic returned with seven new tracks in the form of one 30minute mixtape. Seven tracks that see the band returning to the indie-dance well that made their debut album Acolyte so remarkably wonderful and which they had moved away from for the less well received follow-up Collections.

Oh, and David Moyes was sacked as manager of Manchester United. But no one cares about that…

We’re big fans of Delphic, anyone who has ever read our reviews of their live shows or albums (even Collections which we do admit wasn’t quite what we’d hoped it would be, but even so there was plenty to enjoy on it) could tell you that. So the advent of new music is always welcome at Alphabet Towers.

Get Familiar is a perfect name for the mixtape when you think about it, as it returns the trio to familiar sonic territory and, as James Cook explained to Dummy is the closest they’ve come to recreating their live sound for fans. ”For the first time we’ve tried bottling part of the live show and putting it on record. Although it is something we have often talked about, releasing an album mixed in the same way as our live set has proved a stumbling block because it essentially turns an LP into a DJ mix… This isn’t a DJ mix, it is all new material, mixed together in the same way the early Delphic 30-minute live sets were, but with a modern club sound to the production”.

There is indeed a very clubby sound to it, as well as a fabulous amalgamation of indie, pop, house and some distinctly Yeasayery sounds, especially in the vocals, which we just adore. The synths are once again laser sharp, precision aimed at your feet whilst a scatter bomb of beats and rhythm will have you dancing and swaying about in delight. It’s not hard or oppressive, it’s just damn good. Break out the smoke machines, get the neon green lasers pulsating across the room and let’s get our groove on. And when we’re all exhausted from that, we can wind down with a beer and a little acoustic beauty to close the night with. We say night, we’ll be playing this at all hours.

This is the first time the band has worked on their own, doing their own production and everything and while they aren’t giving much away about what the future holds, we’re once again excited to hear what’s next.
“Let’s say everything is going to be ok” they sing, with this return it feels like it really will be.

’Get Familiar’ is available as a free download from the SoundCloud player below.


Tracklist:
1. PPP
2. Only Human
3. Futureproof
4. Colours Of The Day
5. Illusion
6. The Giver
7. What If

Stalk Delphic: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Review: Delphic – Collections

29 Jan

delphic

First things first, Collections is not Acolyte redux. Not even remotely. When announcing the follow-up to their exceptional 2010 debut, the band said; “We didn’t want to make an album that replicated ‘Acolyte’, that more-of-the-same-again approach seems all too abundant at the moment and it doesn’t interest us in the slightest, so we set out to challenge ourselves”.

And challenge, they have for Collections is musically very different, with a much greater emphasis on the beat and almost none on the dance-rock sound that brought them to the dance in the first place. Influences come from all over, as if the guys have spent three years listening to every other musical style out there and choosing which ones to use. It’s a bit of a kitchen sink approach, with hip-hop, overblown future rock, dubstep, banghra, 80’s pop, ballads, dance and many more all evident across the 10 tracks.

While this does serve to show the new diversity of Delphic, we don’t think that a confused ‘huh?’ was the reaction they were hoping to illicit from listeners but for the first couple of spins, but that’s exactly where we found ourselves. It doesn’t have the instant accessibility of Acolyte which hit you square between the eyes from the opening moments of “Clarion Call”, and seems to lack cohesion, it doesn’t feel like a single whole like you would expect an album to.

Evidently though, this is by design, as Rick explained to XFM. “Collections is a collection of songs that don’t necessarily sound the same, which challenges listeners to get out of their boxes. It’s why people have shuffle, so they can hear different songs on their playlists”. So it’s an album that is designed to be listened to in a different order each time?

It’s an interesting concept, to deliberately create an album that isn’t designed to be enjoyed as an album, but one that makes some sense given the public’s predilection for disposable music and preference for downloading singles only. It’s like a less technologically advanced version of Gwilym Gold’s Bronze format which promised listeners they would never hear the same version of a song twice.

So, we decided to give it a spin or two on shuffle and the result was interesting. The lack of cohesion, of a singularity across the music, no longer mattered. We didn’t know what was up next so that randomness, the variety of styles felt fresh rather than confusing. We were able to enjoy the tunes for what they were not for what they didn’t do. “Bayia” felt sexy and energetic; “The Sun Also Rises” like Yeasayer had penned music for a rousing BBC montage; “Tears Before Bedtime”, featuring heartache via voicemail, feels more poignant when it precedes rather than follows “Atlas”, which itself is a multi-headed hydra spitting musical styles like fireballs.

We’d have to say, shuffle is the way forward for Collections, though we are honestly not sure if that is a good thing or not.

Collections is out now and available on iTunes or directly from the band.


Stalk Delphic: Facebook / Twitter / Website / Soundcloud

Watch: Delphic – “Baiya”

19 Dec

delphic

The Delphic boys are well and truly back. Following a successful UK tour in the autumn where they showcased some new material, and the news that their long-awaited second album was on the way, they recently debuted the video for lead single, “Baiya”.

The track is a great blend of orchestral strings, pop hooks and hip-hop style beats. The electro side has been played down but it is still there to a degree but the pop aspect has been turned right up. It is certainly properly radio friendly and sounded fantastic when we saw them play live a few weeks back. The reaction has not been universally positive mind you. The guys have had something of a mixed response to their new stuff, with a roughly 50/50 split of people decrying its departure from what they loved about Acolyte or embracing and rejoicing the new direction. Here at Alphabet Bands, our tastes being as eclectic as they are, we love it. It doesn’t stop us from thinking Acoloyte was amazing and our minor obsession with that album doesn’t prevent us from appreciating their new stuff either.

The video, which was filmed in Paris, looks stunning and with the guys all suited and booted and fighting one another in a stop-motion style, it’s like Morph-meets-The Matrix. Which frankly, would be amazing.


Collections is released on 28 January and can be pre-ordered here.

Stalk Delphic: Facebook / Twitter / Website / Soundcloud

Gig Review: Delphic, Norwich Arts Centre – 25/10/12

27 Oct

Expectation can be a bitch sometimes. When heading out to see the band responsible for possibly your favourite album of the last three years, a band you’ve seen live and been blown away by before and the best small venue in the country, you expect to see something special. Without them even knowing, you are putting a truckload of pressure on the band to live up to your, probably, unrealistic expectations.

Tonight Delphic will take to the stage at the Norwich Arts Centre in front of an excited and expectant audience. It has been nearly three years since they last performed here, shortly after the release of their white-hot and near faultless indie dance debut, Acolyte. It was supposed to be just the beginning for the boys from Manchester, tipped by many (they placed third in the BBC Sound of 2010 poll and the Guardian named them on of their 10 bands to watch) but after touring the album they dropped off the radar for quite a while. After taking their time writing new material they are back and ready to share the fruits of their labours.

A hush descends on the crowd as the light dims and the band steps on stage, a few whoops and cheers burst forth as the first sort of new track, it was released in the summer as one of the official tracks of the Olympics, “Good Life” opens the set. “We Wait/We Wait/We Wait/We Wait” they sing, echoing the thoughts of the crowd, so grateful to have them back after so long. It’s a high energy opening with a track that will prove to be a bridge from the old to the new.

The band moves seamlessly on, urging us to dance with “Halcyon” before dropping the first new track proper and the first indication of their new sound. “Baiya” is a sexified funky track which, as with all the new songs, downplays the dance and brings in new elements from other genres. Here it is a bit of hip-hop and a tight, Peaches sort-of vibe. Soaring synths and uplifting choruses it may not have, but it goes hard and doesn’t feel out of place in the set.

They may have been away from us for so long, but they are sounding as tight as ever and the drum patterns are crisper than Gary Lineker’s wildest fantasy. Banter is kept to the barest of minimums, the odd thanks is about as far is it goes as they prefer to rattle on. Tracks from Acolyte are played with, blended into one another, given extended mixes or breakdowns and the crowd laps it up. The instantly recognisable introduction to “Doubt” is slowed to a near standstill, giving it a surprisingly dark, sci-fi edge, as if it were the soundtrack to Prometheus, before kicking back in and hitting maximum warp.

New tracks are dropped in at opportune moments and met warmly, each one varying in style from the last. There is more rock, more wailing guitar, more hip-hop, more urging to “move sucka, dance sucka”, more relaxation, less corporeal, less dance and less synths. The crowd nods, dances, bounces its approval. “Atlas”, appropriately, sounds huge. A vast sprawling song that lurches in a variety of directions, collecting sounds from each location and getting bigger as it goes. It’s breathtaking stuff.

The evening draws to its close as old favourites “Counterpoint” and “Acolyte” finishes the set to leave the crowd buzzing. The time away has not hurt Delphic, they may have chosen a new musical path but they have not sacrificed quality in doing so. Expectations have been met and instead we feel only excitement for the old and new and hope that we won’t need to wait quite so long for their return.



Delphic played:
“Good Life”
“Halcyon”
“Baiya”
“Red Lights”
“This Momentary”
“Memeo”
“Clarion Call”
“Doubt”
“Atlas”
“Changes”
“Counterpoint”
“Acolyte”

Read More
Listen: Delphic – “Good Life” / Oh boy, this is good – Delphic Review