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Album Review: Ghost City by Delta Sleep

Brighton math rock band Delta Sleep release their second album Ghost City on 10th August via Big Scary Monsters. What started as an earnest foray into pushing the boundaries of fledgling math-rock has morphed into something much more for Delta Sleep. The band surprise their listeners with every release by constantly tweaking and perfecting their sound, and their new album is no exception to this ethic.

This is more than your average math rock album, sure it has all the intricacies you would expect, but it’s the added melodies and commanding structure that make it standout. This is something special, this might just be your new favourite album.

The album was written over the course of two years, between the bands tours in Europe, Japan and Mexico, before heading to Northern Italy to record it. “We figured it was the same price to record in Italy, so we brought our friend and producer Mark Roberts along for the ride,” says Devin Yuceil (vocals/guitar), “we booked a bunch of shows on the way down which pretty much covered our recording costs, which also meant that we had around a week of playing the new material everyday leading to the studio, a luxury we don’t often have.”

On first listen the album is ambitious and explorative musically – the intricate and powerful guitar work will standout and leave you almost speechless. Then you start to appreciate the melodies and how instantaneous each track is. If that wasn’t enough there’s a concept behind it all. Conceptually, it is a tech-noir wherein the world now operates as one city in a collective consciousness under the rule of vast tech firms – organic nature and wildlife are a thing of the past, a myth. Centred around a female protagonist who exists as a cog in the machine, it is both bleak and dystopian but at times also uplifting and oddly cathartic; exploring existentialism, mundanity, oppression and ultimately the negative effects of technology on the world.

It’s an album that should be listened to in its entirety to be fully appreciated. Each trach complements each other perfectly to create that conceptual soundscape. There’s the immediate harmonies of opener ‘Sultans of Ping’, the bleak and delicate tones of ‘Ghost’ and the luscious intricacies of ‘Dotwork’ as early highlights. At the midpoint of the album comes ‘Dream Thang’ which might just be the best song we’ve heard in 2018. The guitar work and the main riff especially just oozes so much emotion. From the gentle intro through to the big hook, this is a track that you can fall in love immediately. So good.

New single ‘San Soleil’ has a driving math/emo feel, kind of like an early Minus The Bear before ‘El Pastor’ revels in its intricacy and ambition. ‘Floater’ is a beautifully delicate number before closer ‘Afterimage’ wraps things up in a succinct retrospective.

Delta Sleep have pushed the boat out here. They’re in a league of their own now. Brilliant stuff.

AD Rating 9/10

 

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