Delorentos are reborn again, this time as that rarest of Irish things - a soul band seeking redemption
Six albums in and Dublin band Delorentos find themselves at a similar crossroads to the one Snow Patrol faced in 2003 with the last chance saloon release of Final Straw, the album that finally propelled them to major league success.
Delorentos have long crafted catchy and heart-tugging indie pop that garnered critical acclaim but gained little commercial headway. Having already split up prematurely in 2009, the band’s quick change of mind yielded several sparky and vibrant guitar albums that put Ireland’s recent crop of touchy feely boy band rockers to shame.
However, the years before True Surrender have also been ones of soul-searching, self questioning and domestic upheaval for Delorentos. It’s that sense of reflection and existential crisis that informs both the lyrics and the music on these eleven new songs.
On opening track, the hymnal Stormy Weather, Rónan Yourell wrestles with his demons and finds final peace as the tide of his native Portrane (the same town a young U2 used to attend prayer group meetings in the early eighties) rolls over him, while on the piano-led Am I Done?, one of several songs here about the actual process of making art and music, his fellow vocalist Kieran McGuinness wonders "I am done, am I mourning something that has gone, will I ever write another song?"
Recorded in Donegal’s Attica Studios with one time Villagers member Tommy McLaughlin and with collaborations with prince of Irish pop Richie Egan, these songs are suffused with warmth and moments of transcendence. Largely jettisoning the jagged indie pop of their first few albums, Yourell and McGuinness’s songs are now bathed in gorgeous snyth figures and atmospherics. They sound reborn again, this time as that rarest of Irish things - a soul band seeking redemption.
It's a fireworks of epiphanies that finds beauty and hope in dashed dreams. Islands intros with muted hand claps and slips by buoyed aloft by gorgeous exotic-sounding synths, tricky percussion and celestial harmonies; the roomy S.O.S. (more sea-faring imagery) thrums with elasticised funk and more joyous harmonies; and blazing finale Everybody Else is a return to the fiery guitar attack of old and proves that the band can still rock out when needed.
There is the occasional descent into soppy solemnity but the expansive and sumptuous production elevates even the weaker songs to new levels of sophistication and maturity for the band.
The central question here is why is anybody in a band in the first place? Delorentos have always known the answer - to make great music. Take their advice and just surrender.
Alan Corr @corralan