Never more so than now has society been so agonisingly conscious of man’s earthly finite-ness; wrestling with how exactly to pass those numbered days until one’s expiration date is a gnawing itch in the collective conscience, one who is less and less satisfied by the bleak, beige prospects of a 9-5 career. Delta Sleep’s latest, the loosely conceptual Ghost City, asks all the same questions, playing out like the bewildered remarks of a rat-race spectator, beset in a warm hug of wonky, indie glimmer. ‘There must be more to life than concrete walls’, ‘At times you realise this wasn’t how you wrote your life’. It is personal and, for many I would imagine, it is challenging but, in that very special way which few records achieve, feels, also, endearingly intimate; human: like an old friend, piping tea in the mid-winter or the embrace of a massive, fluffy dog.
Oh, and, adjective-heavy armchair philosophy aside, the actual music is pretty cool too! Presently unique in their sphere, Delta Sleep structure and arrange songs with thought and imagination, nested nuances teeming beneath surface-layers of pretty twinkles and angular jangle. Devin Yuciel’s eccentric semi-drawl floats wonderfully over, pondering life, work and nature through delicate verses, chants and, on occasion, piercing throat-shredders. Similarly, worthy of highlight is the drum work on this album which, complex but insatiably dancy, is key to the record’s vitality, underpinning the thematic content which, at its core, is about living life to the full. Working subtly behind the scenes, math’s clasp is not evaded: if you look, it’s there, cowering guiltily, in every covert odd-time riff, knotty bit of interplay and unexpected groove switch-up.
Come late August, Delta Sleep embark on a US tour; a classic signpost of “making it” – and if that’s not living life to the full then what is? It’s not often that mathy bands get big enough to cross the pond (see: ASIWYFA, TTNG) and Ghost City really shows us how they’ve achieved that stature, attesting, beyond their talent for penning complex yet accessible tunes, to their work ethic and thoughtful approach.