Album: Delphic, Acolyte (Polydor)
Believe the hype: it's the New Order for the new decade
Sunday 03 January 2010
It's that time of year again.
A handful of people at the NME, Radio 1, Festival Republic, Universal Music and Channel 4 have sat down and decided who the half-dozen breakthrough acts of the coming 12 months will be, and have disseminated this list to criminally lazy hacks with the result that every "Tips for 2010" list you've seen so far has the same names on it, reshuffled in a slightly different order, so that everyone gets to look like a predictive genius (rather than merely a regurgitator of foregone conclusions).
An always-thrilling process, you'll agree, and one which has higher-than-usual stakes this year, given that it's the start of a new decade. One of the names getting the white-smoke treatment from the Vatican of pop, along with the likes of Marina and the Diamonds, Ellie Goulding and Hurts, is Delphic. And, almost incredibly, for once it's justified: the Manchester trio are actually worthy of the path being smoothed in front of them.
When you see the M-word you fear the worst, especially when you read that this is a band who are deeply conscious of their city's musical heritage. But they don't mean that heritage. They mean the other heritage: the one embodied by Factory Records, the Hacienda and, above all, New Order.
It quickly becomes evident that Delphic mean business on that score: the second track, "Doubt", carries unmistakable echoes of "Touched by the Hand of God", and Acolyte as a whole recalls New Order in their shimmering prime, from the vague air of mystique conjured by their fondness for Greek-derived words ("Ephemera", "Halcyon", the album title itself) right down to the deceptively simplistic lyrics which, cumulatively and in context, take on an existential hue.
And, like their illustrious forerunners, Delphic have a dual understanding of art and of parties. Trailed by their own press release as a blend of "anthemic indie and stadium techno", they're nowhere near as lumpy as that sounds, although the closing track, "Remain", has a definite flavour of euphoric hands-in-the-air rave about it.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and this time the tastemakers and consent manufacturers have flagged up something special. Acolyte is on kissing terms with magnificence.
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