The Delta Mirror
Machines That Listen
Los Angeles trio The Delta Mirror announce their arrival with the brilliantly-textured debut, Machines That Listen. Each track on the conceptual album takes place in a different room in a hospital, an increasingly popular topic in indie music as of late. Themes of mortality and separation are heavy on the record. From the opening hip-hop infused “It Was Dark And I Welcome The Calm,” The Delta Mirror carve out their own ambient niche that flows gorgeously over nine panoramic tracks.
Craig Gordon and David Bolt have been making music together for a decade and the seamless integration of their hip-hop roots into the immersive soundscape is remarkable. Equally impressive is the economy of words on the album. The listener is left contemplating lines that at a cursory glance seem pedestrian. It’s the subtleties of the delivery that reveal the cloaked meanings behind certain songs. A brooding baritone reminiscent of Interpol’s Paul Banks anchors the melodies with occasional assistance from bassist Karrie K’s contrasting backing vocals.
“He Was Worse Than The Needle He Gave You,” the standout track of the album, is a song shrouded in mystery and complexity. It’s a breathtaking symphony that tackles tough issues with stylistic grit and aplomb and it is one of the best tracks you will hear in 2010. “And The Radio Played On” is a masterful ode to painful goodbyes. Like much of the album, the song is able to extract beauty from ugly subject matter. The musical backdrops simply refuse to drag you down. Glitchy ambient noise warmly carries you back from the depths at just the right moments.
Machines That Listen excels through its unique brand of shoegaze and electronics. The album is a case study in melancholy and loss with dripping, down-tempo layers akin to The Album Leaf’s In A Safe Place. Ideally suited for late night drives and headphone introspection, The Delta Mirror have managed to create a signature sound with Machines That Listen. Expect to hear their name for years to come.
Song you’ll remember in five years: “He Was Worse Than The Needle He Gave You”
Line you’ll remember in five years: “I write empty songs and their words don’t bother me” (from “He Was Worse Than The Needle He Gave You”)