This nine piece Leeds based outfit use their numbers to create rich atmospherics and layers of sound on twinkly indie-pop with both feet planted onto, and boogieing around, the dancefloor. Opening track Depardieu is Scissor Sisters enlivened by Lady O’s delicious string arrangments, whilst on Save Me lead vocalist Darren Driver gives things a little bit of Robert Smith to a similarly toe-tapping, shimmering pop confection, even going so far as to sing; ‘It took time to realise, that all my friends will die’ in amongst the chirpy backing vocals, insistent drumming and twinkly synths. Keeping things afloat when it threatens to all get a bit too disco-twee are Danger and Duncan Boak’s crunchy, scowling guitars that rear their heads at just the right moment.
What these two tracks make abundantly clear is that DeLorean Drivers know how to use their ensemble to their advantage, and rather than over saturating the listener with their sound they allow members to take their turn in the spotlight, holding the attention with considerable skill.
The Girl With Fire in Her Hands is a buoyant Arcade Fire-esque number with choruses howled as if the roof is falling in, alas Leigh Stothard’s drumming here is a little too doe-eyed and chirpy, the passion of the song becoming lost in the dazzle of glitterball light. On Empties Darren starts to channel Jarvis Cocker, his vocals dry and full of theatrical remorse, whilst the Dee Dees add soulful backing vocals, giving this a certain This Is Hardcore-era feel to the track’s defiant journey forward, Stothard’s drums a rolling military march pushing the track forward towards. It, unfortunately, gets derailed once Lady O’s section of the song arrives, like a channel hop into the middle of a minimalist Annie Lennox ballad. The song settles on a proto-anthemic repetition of the lyric ‘When the tears come we’ll freeze them where they fall’ that feels forced rather than euphoric.
It’s followed by the electro-glam of Too Cool To Kiss which is worryingly close to The Mighty Boosh‘s spoof band Kraftwerk Orange, its lyrics are seemingly detached ‘See all the people, see all the cool people’, but the synth led tune with its indie-disco beat and handclaps is unenthusiastically burbled with as much of a sneer as a hipster deriding someone for not wearing their trousers tight enough or too tight, whatever’s not cool.
Fortunately the brilliantly titled Dancing With My Sister’s Boyfriend is a giddy, silly unashamedly disco-tinged, tongue-in-cheek number, here getting the balance between arch pop stylings and something genuinely body moving just right a la The Human League by way of Franz Ferdinand.
Detonate (Strange Explosions) is a great change of pace and is the most successful balance of Darren and Lady O’s voices on the record, Stothard’s drums are splashy and sexy, with O’s coo sultry against Darren’s feverish bark, twinkling keys in the background. It’s an absolute highlight of the record.
So it’s almost a shame when the up tempo Paper Trail comes crashing in, boring chord progressions on the chorus and drippy, end credits dueting. Meanwhile Taking Hold is a somewhat unfocused stomp along, moving towards a crescendo with guitar helicoptering around a heavily punctuated drum beat as Darren and Lady O howl the title over and over. Piano driven Hollow has an air of Keane going a bit Bryan Ferry, a serviceable if aptly titled number.
Closing track Scarlet (Goodbye) is a bittersweet, warm piano ballad with guitar wandering elegantly in and out, it’s optimistic, sad-eyed pace brings out the best in Darren’s voice it bristles with emotion on the refrain of ‘If you want to leave, then you should leave.’ It’s a big soppy finale, impeccably performed and sends this album out on a high.
Moments of brilliance pepper this record that has a polished, grand sound though doesn’t always have the tunes to carry the weight of this band’s myriad talents. There’s a lot of promise on this record, and enough tunes to capture the hearts of many listeners, but sometimes the duller tracks are too much of a slog and leave the listener on a bit of a see-saw with regards to how they may feel about the band reflecting on this record as a whole.