Saturday, 19 March 2016

Album: Delta Will - Weathering

Delta Will Weathering

Delta Will - A Dream

- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: Beginning as a bedroom project for Charles Tilden, and building on 2012’s Transcendental Visits EP and 2013’s It All Glows EP, Delta Will have now expanded into a a full fledged, multi limbed 4-piece band. Their debut LP, Weathering, which was released yesterday, March 18th, was recorded in their native Toronto with veteran producer Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Tokyo Police Club) and is a marked display of confidence from their muscular and expansive new lineup.

Delta Will brand their approach as "existential-pop", and before even hearing their music, you can probably discern two key facets about the band: their interests lie beyond the standard common themes of how nice a girl seems or how much fun a particular night has turned out to be, but while a lot of thought and experimentation has gone into this excellent set of songs, they are, first and foremost, a band primally and ruthlessly dedicated to getting their audience feet and hearts moving.

The album opens with an scene setting instrumental ('Dawn Song') and is broken up by two additional wordless tracks ('Bugrarach' and 'Hovering'), each displaying their experimental and playful side, while also serving as perfect segues in an album that covers a wide expanse of moods.  Their key unifying element is a relentlessly tight rhythm section, who are often tasked with holding down the centre of the song while the synths and guitars swell and bluster. 

Songs like ‘We Were Born’ with its twisting, windy blues riff building into a rollicking, filthy solo, highlight their ability to blend analog instruments with electronic elements, warping bluesy and folksy textures into something more mechanical, without sacrificing the inherent warmth and humanity - a trick recently perfected by Alt-J.  Album midpoint 'Are We Gonna Make It?' is a hymnal anthem, making full use of the harmonies and blissed out reverb reminiscent of Grizzly Bear - notably another bedroom experiment that blossomed into a fully fleshed out band.

Delta Will - Manic Pulse

Previous single, 'Manic Pulse' (above) proves an early highlight as a whistling synth gives way to a tense tribal beat and clicking delayed guitars, until the tension explodes in a sky-scraping chorus.  Current single, ‘A Dream,’ opens with a clattering drum pattern, reminiscent of Radiohead’s more recent output, but at the halfway point the song shifts and attempts to untether itself from the planet, anchored only by the suddenly central and driven rhythm section.  

Clearly demonstrating their comfort in blending genres, 'Give It a Chance' occupies a similar lyrical and groovy space as ultimate stalker anthem ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ by Death Cab for Cutie, with the narrator pleading with the object of his affection to get on board while barely choking back rage.  ‘Good Will’ floats along with a pleasant airy melody until a huge drum beat sideswipes it into traffic, leading to another explosive interaction between the four members.  And album centre-piece ‘In the Fog’ marries an 80’s post punk stalking bassline to a Smithsian / britpop sensibility, all the while seething about the Orwellian state of things: "Uncle Sam can break my hand/I will take my truth with me to the grave./Doom awaits." 

Delta Will Weathering Album Review

The album closes, quite perfectly with a woozy, piano-led ballad, capturing the Disney on cough syrup sound that was St. Vincent’s stock and trade around Actor.  For an album so concerned with consciousness, it’s apt to close with a lullaby, and ‘I Will Receive It’ is both a thoughtful and considered meditation on the healing power of creativity and an earnest promise to try to chill the fuck out and enjoy the present. And that really feels like what’s happening here; make no mistake, as much as this band clearly thrive on experimentation and pushing themselves into interesting rhythmic and textural territories, at their heart they still write big pop songs, with huge hooks. But, especially given the band’s origins as a bedroom solo project, this entire release throbs with the pulse of ideas being beaten out at full volume in a practice space rather than patch-worked on a laptop. Put simply, for all their ingenuity, ultimately Delta Will sound like they’re having a lot of fun rocking the fuck out, and that joy is captured, transmitted and contagious.

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