REVIEW: DELPHIC AT BRISTOL THEKLA (30/10/12)
Three years ago, Delphic threatened to run off with the indie dance floors everywhere with their debut album ‘Acolyte’, taking off in a post-Klaxons blaze for them, then seemingly going off the map for about two years (in the music industry life span, this is pretty much a lifetime, because things go in and out of fashion like hot cakes really and so often a band’s hiatus after a couple of years turns out to be definitive). So I was quite some surprised to see their name back on the Thekla poster.
Support tonight comes from the Erol Alkan inspired sounds of D/R/U/G/S, whose beat matching and mixing is perfect for a neo indie disco, you can just feel people with glow sticks and whistles freaking out to this with his heavily scattered drum rhythms and dazed vocal samples, making one forget that its only 7.30 in the evening. He’s pretty pounding with his pace as he gently builds up melodies and percussive rhythms before breaking down again.
There’s a building sense of optimism in the hull of the Thekla, as a huge set of sythersizers and an on stage mixing desk are wheeled out, the whole stage set looks like it’s crammed full of pretty much every synthersized effects unit under the sun, even with the guitars having mountains of pedal boards which help control the bands sound. The band takes to the stage with a pulsating electronica intro track as they nervously start.
Bursting into new single ‘Good Life’ shows the band is most definitely trying to bring the disco to the boat, with very stylised breathy vocals, huge banks of synths squealing, the beats spinning like an ultra-cheesy whirlittzer, that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Scissor Sisters’ record. The band plays with a very well restrained sense of pop pomp, driving the odd well toned whoomph, before stringing into ‘Halcyon’.
Their sound is one that owes a lot to that of 80s New Order, especially with ‘Halcyon’, which has has the band’s singer, James Cook, sounding very Bernard Sumner esque. ‘Baiya’ is introduced as a brand spanking new song, that sees the band looking almost wet behind the ears with nervousness; as if they felt that something was going to go wrong, which with that much electronic equipment it is easy for something to go wrong and yep, about two thirds of the way through the set one of their main synths crashes. This causes a near catastrophic blow that is written all over the band’s faces.
This was after they had lumpily ploughed through a set that should have fizzed with energy, but for some reason it came across a bit lacklustre, songs such as ‘This Momentary’ really should have been thumping with a driven up-tempo pace but it felt like it was sagging slower. Even though this reviewer is dancing away like nobodie buisness willing the band on. I felt like as if it was all strung together with a certain amount of control that never fully sparked into life, there were mini moments where things clicked l- during ‘Clarion Call’ and ‘Memeo’, but that was all before disaster struck with one of the main synths failing, causing the band to go into panic mode as they improvised a Muzac style jamm whilst they try and fix the problem but it is obviously something pretty big as the band are forced off stage.
This was major bow and completely diffused any sense of atmosphere, even with their biggest hit ‘Doubt’ couldn’t really lift them from feeling kind of jaded. Even the closing track ‘Acolyte’ felt a bit lacking. What should have been great, what should have exploded, just seemed to fizzle out – oh well, so much for the effort guys.
Words: Jeffrey Johns
Photo: Laura Palmer
by 247 Magazine