Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Delorean: Subiza (2010)



Delorean is a fascinating DIY case study writ large -- a band tasked with creating not only their own audience but their own entire scene. Based in Barcelona and unhappy with the near-nonexistent dance music community, they inaugurated, developed, promoted, and ingrained in the localized music universe an intriguing style of electronic composition. Determined to share it, they worked and worked and worked until something stuck.

Today they are a widely acclaimed Spanish treasure, signed to True Panther Sounds (now a subsidiary of Matador) in the U.S., thus bringing their third album Subiza to a world’s worth of curious folk with expansive tastes. Only problem: the record opens slowly with three draggy numbers, revenge-of-the-drone Jock Jam "Stay Close" to torture chamber pop "Real Love" to featherweight easy listening "Endless Sunset," all overly reliant on pedestrian skittering and currently-in-vogue vocal noodles.

With track four, "Grow," Delorean begins to feel like a functioning band, and the back two thirds of the album bring consistent pulsing pleasure for dance floor reflection. "Grow" initially comes off as another bit of sample burlesque but the precise, pleasing beat kicks in, a lite-jazz riff blasts through, and the gently passionate, faintly accented vocals of Ekhi Lopetegi wash over with imperfect faux-digital drive. Insistent but politely so, the track aptly defines intelligent dance music in five minutes.

The remaider of Subiza happily lives up to that promise. "Simple Graces" suggests mid-‘60s R&B without aping it, and Lopetegi translates the musical tension of the four prior tracks into purebred joy. The samples, at times conjuring the Avalanches, at last fall into line seamlessly. The populist bent of "Infinite Desert" and "Come Wander," both celebrations of early Hi-NRG, makes them must-hears for any Pet Shop Boys fans lingering around the indieverse.

Never deliberately a dance unit until their circumstances demanded such a reaction, Delorean’s pop roots come through, beat notwithstanding, as the record draws to a close: despite the club soundscape, "Warmer Places" is Beach Boys purity at heart, shimmering harmonies and all, proving it’s not only the BBs’ weirder shit that merits modern attention and influence. Feverish optimism and an infectious beat render any context for "It’s All Ours" irrelevant. It is just delightful, lounge-tinged pop with the slightest, warmest hint of the weird. This is where the band’s heart seems, admirably, to truly lie. My sole wish for album the fourth: less Caribou, more LCD Soundsystem.

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