Monday, June 05, 2006

Dance music made by punks

First of all, I owe thanks to Tim for inviting me to make irregular contributions to his blog, even though I have a perfectly serviceable music blog of my own, which is purposely left uncluttered by comment. It's solely a podcast, and SAS Radio will remain that way. But Tim's invitation enables me to go into a bit more depth on some music than I can in the podcast. It's easier to skip down a page to where you want to go than it is to FF through an Mp3 file (though don't rush to take me up on that...).

So my inaugural post for TFoD is on a band called Delorean, from Spain, or more specifically from Zarautz in the Basque country. They interest me because they have the sort of sound I think readers of English-speaking blogs would rush towards, yet, perhaps because they're from a country yet to establish itself as a source of excellent independent music in the way Sweden has, they're not getting the attention they deserve. They've been going since at least 2000 after all, have just released their third album, Into the Plateau, and perhaps it's here that they're going into really interesting new directions.

There's some nonsense on the BCore website about the place they come from as having "always been a place of soft, quiet and melancholic pop music", as if we could expect a location always to produce consistently a predictable musical sound over a long period of time (and before anyone says "Manchester", that would presumably be the city which saw the birth of The Fall, The Hollies and Take That, as well as all them others). Delorean sound familiar, which I don't always like, but fresh as well, and I spent a little time thinking about why I could let these coexist. I suck at describing bands in terms of others they sound like, and I never think it's entirely fair either, but in the case of Delorean I think they've combined a few features of old styles that I never felt got overworked. They're essentially a guitar-electro-dance band, but with a raw and savage edge to help you remember that dancing is about shaking off your demons as well as having fun. "Dance music made by punks" is a rather less silly remark from their website (though I don't get the Kraftwerk/Cure think they then go on about at all), and we can go with that.

They remind me more of A Certain Ratio, in their 1980s incarnation, who never seemed trendy or perhaps poppy enough to attract anyone much other than the disaffected northern working class kids who liked to dress up and dance, but were under no illusions about their lives being otherwise pretty crap. I remember ACR being unusually snotty towards their fans at gigs, too, which was very punk. I've no idea how angry and disaffected Delorean are, but they certainly don't sound complacent, and there is a welcome darkness to their dance music that keeps it well on the right side of pop.

Another thing I like is that their lyrics seem to be gloriously meaningless. They sing in English, though (and I don't want to be unfair) it doesn't always sound like they know the meaning of the words they're singing. "As Time Breaks Off", for instance, which is included in the latest SAS Radio podcast (no 8), has several phrases referring to time, and things breaking, or being off, but none seem quite to fall in the sequence chosen as the title. In that regard they remind me of Underworld, and there's a story about Karl Hyde's lyrical compositional technique (probably put about by Karl Hyde himself, true or not), that he used to haunt the streets with his ears open and his notebook handy, scribbling down random lines he overheard between people and then slotting them somewhere into his lyrics. If this is true it means that someone somewhere was in Hyde's earshot shouting "lager lager lager", but was probably too pissed when he did so to have any recollection afterwards of his contribution to the soundtrack of 1995. Marvellous.

I've chosen a couple of other tracks from the album to post here, for a limited time, with a recommendation that if you like these then they aren't unrepresentative of the album. Get the whole thing. It's all this good.

Delorean - Soon
Delorean - No name

Buy the album from emusic.


cchang said...

Another thing I like is that their lyrics seem to be gloriously meaningless.

This alone would be enough to pique my interest, but I do like their sound.

Anonymous said...

Very best site. Keep working. Will return in the near future.