Posted in music on June 15, 2010
by Bill Pearis
Last night was the Manchester band Delphic's first NYC show, riding in on a wave of UK hype and rescheduled tour dates. Hype didn't exactly translate to a packed house, but Delphic were impressive and confident live. The three main members are multi-taskers and when not playing guitar or bass or singing, they're tweaking filters and twiddling knobs that actually seem to be doing something. Delphic have also figured out a sound, anthemic and ethereal that soars atop skittery sequencers with big choruses and some serious dancefloor knowhow. New Order comparisons (the guitar and hi-hat heavy drumming more than anything else) are inevitable but they're probably closer in spirit to Friendly Fires.
They just need more good songs. Right now they've got three great ones -- "Doubt," "This Momentary" and "Counterpoint" -- but the rest of the set (and their album, Acolyte, out next week in America) feels like samey-sounding filler. But the highs were definitely highs. "Counterpoint," stretched out to over ten minutes with an extended techno-y middle section, is bliss.
Delphic play San Francisco tomorrow (6/16) tomorrow and L.A. on Friday (6/18) and then do the European festival circuit which is probably the best way to see these guys at this point.
This was my first time seeing Penguin Prison who've only played a handful of dates anyway. Chris Glover has been kicking around for a while, having put out some hip hop-ish singles on Interscope in the mid-'00s ago before getting chewed up and spit out by the system. As Penguin Prison, he's a lot more fun and clearly very talented. The dude knows his way around a hook, and he's got a set of pipes, somewhere between Justin Timberlake and Scritti Politti.
I dig the songs on his MySpace but live it didn't quite have the same oomph for me, though the crowd was pretty into it. The phrase in my head while watching Penguin Prison play was "80s Movie Montage Music." Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. No question Glover has the It Factor, something his entirely competent backing band needs a little more of. Fun, absolutely, but not more than that.
Video of Delphic performing "Doubt" on Jools Holland, below...