Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

 |   |  1 min read

Delgirl: Stars
Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

This trio from Dunedin impressed on their debut album two, maybe three, days ride which saw them nominated for a Tui award and, as I noted at that time, it was a real step up from their first EP.

This even better album -- 15 tracks -- confirms what I have always believed, the more you work (ie play, perform and record) the chances are the better you will get. There is a musical maturity here in the arrangments for voices, and the acoustic instruments which include double bass, ukuleles, banjo, simple drums, guitars and the like.

Working an area which is not quite alt.folk or alt.country but has elements of both (alongside touches of gospel vocals on the disturbing Sister, Mother, and a smidgen of folk-blues throughout), Delgirl have created their own musical space.

One Long Day (over banjo) is a subtle and refined lyric about the end of a failed relationship which gets added poignancy when the lonely trumpet comes in; the lovely Take Me to The Railway has a melancholy yet optimistic feel (and some neatly forceful musical undercurrents); there's solid and gutsy quality to the tough minded Sippin' Blues; and the delightful Waiting ("I was hoping you'd come to save me . . .but you didn't seem to know the way to find me") should be a summertime hit at dusk while you watch the sun set into the ocean. 

The rather plodding She Cried is repetitive in the manner of many traditional Anglofolk songs. Did nothing for me, and at great length. 

Perhaps living where they do explains the images of Nature which are everywhere here: there is barely a lyric which doesn't mention the moon, the sea, the stars, the tide or a field and so on. And that will mean for some they broadcast on a narrow frequency, we might say.

But the sympathetic production (Nick Bollinger), the quiet diversity of the material (the slight Pasifika feel to lightly risque Honey, the pure pop of Stars which lifts a phrase from the Beatles for their own ends) and the beauty of these voices in harmony or counterpoint effortlessly lift this into the frontline of the finest local albums in a very good year. There is power in simplicity.

Delgirl are touring this album (see here for dates) and on the evidence of Porchlight I suspect that on the night they will be very special indeed.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Gin: Extended Play (Island/Universal)

Gin: Extended Play (Island/Universal)

The other night we were flicking across the music channels and did that rare thing, paused for more than five seconds because there was a remarkable voice about which I said, "Wow, I'd like to... > Read more

Jim Noir: Jim Noir (My Dad)

Jim Noir: Jim Noir (My Dad)

Some six months ago the English magazine Q hailed this quirky, poppy and delightfully cheerful album as "the surprise soundtrack of summer 2008" -- which means that for us in the other... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more

JOHN LENNON INTERVIEWED (1995): I hear you knocking

JOHN LENNON INTERVIEWED (1995): I hear you knocking

Former mop-topped pop singer and dead megastar John Lennon has given a “thumbs up” to the latest Beatle single Free as a Bird which his former chums in the band have released.... > Read more