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The Delphines Drop a Punchy Full-Length Debut

May. 28, 2014
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While they’ve generated a remarkable amount of attention and acclaim over the last two years, both locally and beyond, there’s always been something conspicuously missing from The Delphines spotless discography: a full-length album. There have been a slew of EPs and singles, each more confident and arresting than the last, but while that’s certainly nothing to scoff at, a proper album, right or wrong, for better or worse, carries quite a bit more weight in a band’s overall body of work. Now, with their long-overdue debut album, Hush, that big piece of The Delphines puzzle is finally falling into place and, thankfully, it was well worth the wait.

“After the last single I think that we wanted to challenge ourselves; we didn’t want to just put out another EP,” explains singer-guitarist Harrison Colby, referring to the string of shorter releases fans have had to make do with until now, a format that has served them well, but was bound to become constrictive eventually. “When you’re putting out little things like that, you can kind of track your growth as a band,” says bassist Lucas Riddle. “When we first started, we didn’t know what this was, but you keep writing songs and recording songs, and it starts forming into these little pieces, and eventually you start to think, ‘Alright, we’re really sounding like us now.’”

Musically, that experienced self-confidence is apparent throughout Hush, which, in addition to being their longest release to date, is also the most surefooted. Tonally however, the album’s a nervous wreck. “When we recorded, in the fall and winter, we all went through these weird transitions, dealing with old relationships, new relationships, not having a job, having a job, so it was a really anxious time,” remembers Colby, “and that came through on the record; Jeremy’s wife said, ‘It sounds like angry, depressed people.’” According to drummer Jeremy Ault, that gloominess wasn’t intentional. “We didn’t try to put any kind of feel on the album,” he says, “The feel of the album was inherent within us.”

Still, even at its most tense and fragile, Hush is never depressing, The Delphines’ trusty brand of tight, hook-driven guitar pop more than holding up under the weight of some additional emotional baggage. In fact, some of the tracks, such as “Notches” and “Feral,” are downright rippers, while even the more somber moments, like the vaguely Springsteen-esque “Little Viking,” are still punchy and, true to form, fleetingly brief. “We like to stick within our comfort zone and stretch at the same time,” says Ault, “So the album is a balance between what we’re comfortable with, like brevity, but we pushed that. While it might not be 30 minutes long, it’s still 10 songs, not four.”

Despite the aforementioned free-floating anxiety that permeated the sessions, the production is impeccable, spectral yet organic and gritty when it needs to be, which is doubly impressive given the band’s DIY and decidedly low-tech approach to recording, which this time around went beyond simply using a built-in laptop microphone, but not by much. “We still recorded it ourselves, but this was the first record where we used external mics and USB mixers and everything,” says Colby, “So I had to learn how to, like, actually record things, and that was about a month-long process, but once I learned how to use it all, it was pretty easy; we got through it really quickly.”

Once the album was in the can, the band also went for expediency when it came to releasing it, bypassing the label middleman in favor of setting up their own imprint, Gloss Records, to press a limited-edition white cassette. “Making an album obviously takes a lot longer that an EP or a single, but then going through the whole record label process takes even longer,” says Colby. “We didn’t want our album to come out next year, so the three of us started a label and just put it out ourselves.” And it’s a good thing they did too, as Delphines fans have already been waiting for something like Hush for far too long.

The Delphines headline a record release show on Saturday, May 31 at the Riverwest Public House with Platinum Boys and No Bueno at 9 p.m.


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