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Delorean
Subiza Simon Jay Catling , June 16th, 2010 07:45

With very little now left to pillage from the 1980s, it seems that less enlightened musicians are starting to unearth the sods atop the 1990s grave to see what lies to loot beneath. The past decade's music progression has seen, in almost replica chronology to that of the 80s: post-punk, electro, synth-pop, dream-pop, shoegaze, and all that's fallen in between. Some of it's been taken and furthered, a lot of it hasn't; along the way though there's been a trickle of artists who've been re-configuring genres long before fashion deemed it to be the right time. When that moment has come and the stars have aligned, though, these acts have broken out to wider recognition. Last year Phoenix's fourth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix “crossed over” after years of their attempting to add some depth to the electro-pop canon. So with 2010 releases from Delphic, Crystal Castles and even, 65 Days Of Static suggesting all arrows are now pointing toward acid house, the time seems ripe for Delorean.

Or that's how I'm attempting to explain the sudden emergence of a Basque group whose third album proper, Subiza, is likely to be assumed as their debut. The irony is that 2004's self-titled effort suggested a band that were following trends pretty closely; that particular LP was a solid if unremarkable tight knit cohesion of glowering post-punk guitars and motorik rhythms, and not a million miles away from what was being produced by guitar groups on our shores during the same time. With subsequent releases though, as well as the notable departure in 2007 of guitarist Tomas Palomo, they've distanced themselves from such connotations to the point where we've arrive at what last year's Ayrton Senna EP hinted at: a lusciously layered album of hedonistic swirls, Balearic rhythms and plastic piano hook lines. Appropriate for the dance floor, appropriate for the 6am comedown, Delorean manage to convey the whole spectrum of a hazy summer night out whilst managing to stick with a constant exotic hue.

Despite hanging around with the right people, having remixed the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The XX, Subiza doesn't see the four-piece take any obviously commercial efforts to prolong their overdue spot in the limelight. You'd be hard pushed to find anything that sticks out as a potential single, and indeed the album initially kneads into the subconscious as a whole, as opposed to relying on one or two moments key moments. The fillip is that those regarding this as re-worked Ibiza-kissed dance music might initially find little in the way to grapple onto with regards obvious hooks. They are present - the childlike vocal shrills that drift across the opening one-two of 'Stay Close' and 'Real Love,' the day-glo keys that adorn 'Come Wander - but often submerged in larger wells of sound. For impact Delorean rely on mid-frequency italo-disco rhythmical ratatats, and these underpin a defined canvas that the group then fill with warm, complimenting mixes of staccato motifs and shimmering reverb. It's like layering a cake, only to go and stick your finger right through the middle of it. It's successful in so far as tracks like 'Infinite Desert' can wash over the listener yet remain immediate enough for them to keep focus. Any ensuing Animal Collective comparisons are largely down to the similarly timbred vocals of the deliciously named Ekhi Lopetegi, but the group as a whole only really nod towards the Baltimore group at the album's end with the eclectic percussion and off-kilter vocals of 'It's All Ours.' Other comparisons are closer to home: 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald, Future Sound Of London, sounds you probably wouldn't have expected to have ever been used so literally again, let alone learned that the results would actually come out sounding good.

With even the very vaguest of murmurs towards dubstep- sampled high-pitch vocal moans are dragged out of basement dub clubs to emerge blinking in the bright sunlight- Delorean also show that they're not just taking notes from late 80s/early 90s club culture; and so they fall into the camp that take the past and refresh rather than resuscitate- with frequently joyous results. Subiza exists as both an album from the past and one for the now, a phantasmagorical uncoupling from reality. Let's enjoy it before the rest of the copycats follow suit.

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