Artist: Delphic

Record Label: Polydor
Rating: 5.5

Delphic’s debut album, Acolyte, positioned the Mancunian band as a direct heir to New Order’s indie/dance throne. Full of euphoric synth highs playing out Hacienda themed memories, the three piece merged all the key elements from the hedonistic dancefloor with the riffs to match. Now comes the time to follow up the trio’s first installment with sophomore outing, Collections. Three years in the waiting is a long incubation period and the band have gone on record stating they hit long stints of writers block that hampered sessions.

Frontman Rick Boardman has on more than one occasion announced that with Collections, the band are “Desperate to do something that hasn’t been done before” and to add to this, his band decamped with producer Ben Allen who has a more R ‘n’ B/hip hop leaning. In a nutshell, a sequel to Acolyte, Collections ain’t. Gone are the hand’s in the air moments and in their place, studio produced beats and a lothario-esque croon from Boardman proving that Allen’s fingerprints are ever present on the band’s new release.

This quest for the unique and a sonic direction change hasn’t treated Delphic well, the band’s love of urban music feels forced and some cases trite. The complete departure from the Hacienda themed tunes of yore seems like a cynical stab at the mainstream. While you wouldn’t want the band to reel out Acolyte part two and evolution in music is always welcome, the end result of Collections suits the band like a beef burger suits a vegetarian.

The LP gets off to a promising start with ‘Of The Young’, it may sound like Radiohead-lite but the electronic wobbles and pneumatic noises have a nod to the band’s debut, plus as the track spans further the addition of a choir and squalling guitars prove they are keen to push themselves as artists. Then, ‘Baiya’ kicks in and the smooth grooves of R ‘n’ B set up shop like an unwanted squatter. From here the band switch from slow jam to mid paced nothingness. This isn’t to say the entire album is a dud, as complete songs Collections doesn’t work but snippets of songs sound like the old Delphic still wants to break through. The trio seemed to have mastered the knack of a deconstructed beat/digital breakdown with several cropping up on ‘Atlas’, ‘Changes’ and the oscillating finale on closing track ‘Exotic’ caps off a turbulent listening experience.

The reason for the name Collections is because the band have meshed together a whole host of ideas and influences plus when they stored these tidbits on their computers the shared folder bore the name Collections. It would seem the mish mash approach and writers block has pushed Delphic off course some what. Let’s hope on album three they drop the smooth grooves and reclaim their advance on Manchester’s heritage.

 Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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