Considering the sheer amount of praises sang from professionals, genre connoisseurs and casual listeners alike, it’s easy to forget that the Brighton math rock quartet Delta Sleep have only released one full length release thus far. That respective record in question, 2015’s Twin Galaxies, played a major role in the fundamental adjustments within the national math rock scene, showcasing how the genre didn’t necessarily need to be perceived as a madcap genre of ruthless sonic assaults, but one of the tender and controlled experimentation of dynamics and sensibilities. Now on the cusp of releasing their sophomore record and their first full length release in over 3 years, an offering titled Ghost City, Delta Sleep have clearly reviewed their already intelligent and resourceful take on their respective genre, taking the time to make some inventive tweaks to ensure that they’re primed to capture the imaginations of the global scene.
Written over the course of three years during the group's international travels, it seems the adventures undertaken by Delta Sleep have seeped into their psyche and mortal fibre, with Ghost City having a wider scope and being more widely ambitious than its predecessor, Twin Galaxies. Whilst the group’s progressive and experimental sensibilities have touched upon intricate textures, mosaic jazz inspired grooves and indie inspiration, there’s a greater emphasis on embedding such conventions into their sound. However, there’s absolutely no shoehorning here; a tight control of their sound is evident, with the experimental found within being subtle in nature, yet delightfully prominent where required.
In relation, this ties in with the overarching concept within the record, with Ghost City exploring the way our western culture has become dependent and ignorantly focused on technology, work and how we often strive just to be cogs within the well oiled machine of banal work orientated life. The record touches upon how we as a society have forgotten the majestic magic of nature and wildlife, displaying the contrasts between our society and the vibrancy the world offers behind the technological curtain. It’s a dystopian yet contrasting narrative, with the group painting the story through their intricate and socially agreeable math rock. Yet, there’s never a suffocating air of despondency, bitter aggression or resentment. Whilst some acts would detail such conceptional narratives through sonic maliciousness, Delta Sleep pursue, and ultimately master a soothing, cathartic and reassuring sound, offering tranquilizing tranquility and musical escapism from this frantic ratrace we’ve come to call life.
How the act offer amiability and warmth is masterful. There’s a strict level of control within their sound, but once we dive headfirst we’re immersed within a level of fluidity. Ghost City ebbs and flows from simplistic elasticity to deeply convoluted and textured depth, retaining a whimsical and welcoming ambiance in the process. However, a turning point within this record is evident, one where the narrative shifts from oppression and existentialist pondering to the wild and mystical vibrancy of nature. As the meditating chords of 'Dream Thang' lead into the blossoming nature of 'Sans Soleil', we see a progression into more optimistic, alive and vivid territories. Such a shift is skillfully executed, there's no obnoxious musical divide, just a subtle progression lyrically and atmospherically.
We bleed into the narrative that mirrors our own society as Delta Sleep offer a soothing and utopian form of escapism. In all, Ghost City is an uplifting adventure that soothes and reinvigorate the weary soul and one that is abound to be adored by math rock veterans and seekers of well-crafted escapist ambiance.
Ghost City is released August 10th via Big Scary Monsters