Friday 24 May 2013

Delta Mainline - Oh! Enlightenment

Album review by

Would we have any regular readers of this site who are in to music such as space-rock, drones, fuzz, kraut and the general influence of a band like, say, Spacemen 3? If you've answered "yes" then Delta Mainline could be right up your street (if you answered "no" then you have our deepest sympathies). This Scottish seven-piece borrow bits from many bands who've traded in those sonic realms over the years, and the mix them up to give us a diverse debut album; one that's packed with tunes that will satisfy those we've already mentioned, but also have a grandeur and accessibility to them that may lend themselves to weaning others onto this brand of music.

The album is a bit like a whistle-stop tour of the above genres, so we'll treat it as such and give you a track-by-track guide. Following brief intro 'Tus Nua', they kick off with squalls of screaming guitar and a classic fuzz-rock track. 'Misinformation' is much like what Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Crocodiles do, but as vital as their best offerings; they bring the noise with this one. 'Stop This Feeling' walks a similar path, adding plenty of brass and a top chorus to give extra feeling, plus a few Jason Pierce-style "come ons". It also uses religious imagery, as does a lot of the album, drawing even closer comparisons to Spiritualized, but this is influence, not copying. The pace drops a touch for the next few songs.

'Dead Beat Blues' is countryish dreampop, perhaps like Mojave 3 or even Galaxie 500. By the end it positively soars. 'Fixing To Die' sounds as though it's directly lifted from a Spacemen 3 album, but it's actually what can only be described as a piano ballad and is a little unexpected. It's not long before the other instruments begin to stomp along and create more of a ruckus. Next, the faint oscillations of analogue electronics begin to appear from the silence, soon joined by guitar and a gently pounding beat; this is the beginning of the six-and-a-half minute build of 'The Church Is Up For Sale' which is something akin to JAMC covering an early Spectrum track. With a brass band at the end, naturally. 'The Strange Fate Of Raoul Duke' is the second short intermittent piece.

Following that we head back for more Spiritualized meets BRMC fuzz-rock on 'Florentine Regime', perhaps the most conventional song here. They get a touch sentimental on the love song 'Home To Me', which of course ends rather grandly. They pass the six-minute mark again on the mysterious 'Dark Energy', a song that doesn't quite compare to others on the album but at the same time doesn't sound out of place; it goes on to end with a Spiritualized cacophony of noise. Finally we reach 'Self-Inflicted Ills', a lament on the desolation of a life. 'Oh! Enlightenment' may be an amalgamation of borrowed ideas, but Delta Mainline have managed to make them their own, and not only that, they've made a record that should help spread the gospel that bit further.

Delta Mainline's website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

14 JUN Edinburgh, Scotland, The Caves
21 JUN Glasgow, Scotland, Glasgow Psych Fest
06 SEP Edinburgh, Scotland, The Voodoo Rooms (This Feeling)
05 OCT Kirkcaldy, Scotland, Windsor Hotel
26 OCT Inverness, Scotland, Mad Hatters

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