There's no stopping the ongoing flux of indie-centred synthpop acts not only emerging into the scene of both club and comfy chair alike, but also continuing to shape the revitalized 80's sound into a more youthful and contemporary exploration of energetic, harmonic melodies and catchy synthetic beats. Stockport's Delphic have not only been away from our prowling eyes for almost three years, but have seemed to have fallen, maybe too deeply, into the shadows of the sub-genre's more recent surprise packages. And while it is indeed the turn of acts like Cut Copy, Friendly Fires, Hot Chip and Metronomy to move away from the immediate glimmer of attention and awareness (for the time being), Delphic repeat their whirling unveil of dance, pop and indie once more in the shape of their anticipated follow-up to 2010's 'Acolyte' in the form of 'Collections'. And while the title and indeed the cover - created by graffiti/graphic artist Vhils - suggests an expectancy of humane and personal touches to the three-piece's full-beam dance momentum, the first single off the album 'Baiya' instead shows the trio moving out of the club and straight onto the bare, open, and quite chilling, streets of North England.
If the glistened production of string pieces doesn't give it away that something is, at the very least, a different shade to their previous material, then the following deterrence of hefty drum beats will definitely highlight this sound as something more urban and rhythmic to it. Vocalist James Cook sounds a lot less blissful in his expression of voice and tone, and instead feels a lot more centralized and direct in what is a much sinister and revealing a subject than what the band have put out previous. 'Glass eye, broken jaw/400 legs kick down my door.' There's a Tom Chaplin likeness to Cook's voice and the lyrics indeed follow the same recalibration from wondrous dream to questionable reality, as was the case on Keane's own follow-up effort. 'All hell is breaking loose,' Cook professes as the track descends into a much interrogatively focused swatch of sheepishly bubbly electronics and hefty drums following suit. Certainly this is a sound many hard-core deep-rooted Delphic fans may find hard to swallow and that's not including the just-as-hefty focus on a hip-hop-influenced pop deliverance in its beats and accompanying vocals. And while Cook's lyrics are still delivered overall with that same interconnected intention of emotion, there still remains questions looming over some of the word choices...or lack of it here, especially when the song appears to break-down and enter its most harmonic and engaging phase: 'And now we're standing back to back, to back, to back, to back/On an only stage the players play on.'
But the apparent change on evident concept and subject matter is interesting nonetheless and certainly stands more credible than just doing the exact same thing, again. Whether they can keep their Achilles' heel on lyricism - and furthermore, its placement amid all the energy and interactivity the music invokes - from being their downfall, is the even greater question for a band I'd given a sense of intrigue and time for reflection over. 'Collections' is released January 28th on Polydor.