The booming stomp of ‘Misinformation’ introduces the band with distorted bass, squealing guitars and a big bright sound full of danger and excitement, while the joyously colourful ‘Stop This Feeling’ is at times slightly reminiscent of The Verve at their peak, topped with massive bursts of uplifting brass. It’s one of four main highlights, another being the gentle ‘Dead Beat Blues’, woozily relaxed and wonderfully arranged with a chorus that hints at what Embrace could have sounded like if they’d chose a different path after that first album.
‘Fixing To Die’ hits a simple and well constructed pattern of notes before building up the emotion as the volume hits a brief peak in the middle. One group who seem to have influenced Delta Mainline’s style is Spiritualized, whose ‘Medication’ seems to echo through parts of ‘The Church Is Up for Sale’, but even though it’s a recognisable influence, you can also hear shades of the Jesus And Mary Chain in there, as well as the combination of styles and epic arrangements that make Delta Mainline what they are. Another stand out is the fantastic ‘Florentine Regime’, a fine slab of piano pounding Velvet Underground-esque rock and roll that begs to be played at maximum volume. It supplies the album’s most instant and infectious moment and comes with a nice change of mood towards the end.
The tempo slows down again for the lovely ‘Home To You’, which makes the listener enjoy the subtleties of the verses while waiting for the soaring emotion of the chorus to arrive. ‘Dark Energy’ is where the record hits its sonic and atmospheric peak, beginning with sparse piano and shady guitar before it explodes into life with dramatic chords and then takes off in another direction, changing shape and pace, and ending in a blizzard of chaotic feedback and white noise. The beautiful closer ‘Self Inflicted Ills’ highlights the quietly dynamic side of this excellent band and brings the curtain down on an impressive debut. 39 minutes and 11 that seem to fly by.
None of the tracks overrun, and as an album ‘Oh! Enlightened’ never becomes a bore. Perhaps it’s not the most original thing you’ll hear at the moment and it even though you can tell it’s a good LP on the first listen, it takes a while for the songs to sink in and become familiar. But every listen reveals something different, providing rewards for the patient and a record that has longterm listening potential rather than instant appeal. After all, it’s no good having an album that sounds great first time and then gets boring after a few plays. So if you’re looking for something that stands the test of time, you’d be stupid not to give Delta Mainline a chance.
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