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

Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)

Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)

If you are bit over bands reforming to tour their classic album or just to pick up the cheque, then put aside such cynicism for this, the return album from former riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney who... > Read more

A Mountain of One: Institute of Joy (Pod)

A Mountain of One: Institute of Joy (Pod)

After a couple of much sought after EPs the London duo of Zeben Jameson and Mo Morris here (with a lot of help from their friends) unveiled their much anticipated debut album last year. And quite... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

John Martyn: Solid Air (1973)

John Martyn: Solid Air (1973)

When the great British singer-songwriter John Martyn died in January 2009 there was initially very little media coverage -- and then people realised the significance of this innovative and creative... > Read more

Moby Grape, Moby Grape (1967)

Moby Grape, Moby Grape (1967)

The short and dramatic story of San Francisco psychedelic folk-rockers Moby Grape is one of the collision of blazing musical talent, shonky management, record company overkill and bad luck. And it... > Read more