One of the most promising new British bands to emerge in 2009, Delphic made their eagerly awaited full-length debut the following year with Acolyte, an impressive alternative dance album that adds eight songs to the previously released singles "Counterpoint" and "This Momentary." Like those early singles, Acolyte finds the Manchester band making blissful dance music with fellow Englishman Ewan Pearson in his Berlin studio. While Delphic are new on the scene, Pearson isn't. He's an ace producer with a reputation for remixing the best in the business. He's a celebrated DJ with several mix albums to his name. Moreover, he's the producer of Tracey Thorn's solo albums. Here on Acolyte, Pearson works with a faceless young band eager to follow his lead. Delphic and Pearson embrace the Manchester style wholeheartedly, reviving not only New Order but acid house too, and they come up with a sound as contemporary as Bloc Party or Hot Chip. Even better, Delphic are an able live band. Part of their up-and-coming buzz came from their tour of the 2009 summer music festivals, when people got to see them performing on-stage in the flesh. No question about it, though, Delphic are at their best when they're in the studio with Pearson. His production wizardry is a joy to behold on Acolyte, above all on the title track, a nine-minute epic that wouldn't sound out of place on one of his DJ mix albums. In addition to "Counterpoint" and "This Momentary," highlights include a couple songs with catchy vocal hooks, "Doubt" and "Red Lights." The album unfortunately starts to drag with "Halcyon" at the album's five-track midpoint. "Counterpoint" is the only late-album highlight. Pearson's dazzling production carries the album only so far. The aforementioned handful of highlights are really amazing, though, making one wonder what the future holds for Delphic, if they stick with Pearson, who casts a tall shadow over them, or if they go in a direction of their own.
by Jason Birchmeier