Balearic beat backgrounds are the calling card of sunny Spanish popsters Delorean, and are still the cornerstone of Apar, but the building itself is of a completely different nature.
The group aims here to move back to a more analog approach at the expense of the computerized glow that took it from local standouts to the indie stratosphere. It’s no stretch to say that 2009’s Ayrton Senna may be one of the best EPs of the last 5 years; its and Subiza’s sunny, almost cheesy compositions were the stuff of blissful dance floor heaven.
With Apar, years of exhaustive touring, personal setback, and the climate of a Spanish economy on the brink of collapse have turned beach-born beats into a darker affair.
Live instrumentation, a more clear and concise vocal approach, and darker lyrical undertones all subvert the unbridled cheeriness that fans have come to expect from Delorean.
Still, Apar is top heavy with some stunningly produced cuts. Album opener “Spirit” may be the strongest track on the release. With its laid back, fresh plucking and warm guitar pulsing, the track is appropriate for dance floor slow jams and top-down cruising alike.
“Desitiute Sound” also has some remnants of the jittery bounce of previous releases. Its catchy melodies and throbbing beat mask the despair and loss that lead singer Ekhi Lopetegi details. In addition, the use of female vocals, like Chairlift songstress Caroline Polachek provides on “Unhold,” help to capture the haziness of a more dream-pop feel laid out by the likes of Beach House and Washed Out.
The album putters out in its latter half, as tracks like “Your Face” and “Inspire” fail to actually inspire. Musical talent and group cohesion notwithstanding, the tracks lack that extra punch of dynamism needed to establish notable essence.
All this isn’t to say that the band has taken a step backward. In many senses, it is clear to see the maturation of the group. The members’ cohesion is at its best, and Lopetegi sounds more confident and comfortable than ever.
The songs may not give such an immediate reward as before, but wiser ruminations on the group and its surroundings have transformed this band into what we come to expect from a more traditional indie outfit.
When listening to the album, one can’t help but parallel Delorean’s trajectory with that of indie supergroup Phoenix.
Both received critical acclaim (although certainly on different scales) for their catchy and digestible brands of indie dance, and both reverted to a more concentrated and less instantaneous effort afterward.
While Bankrupt! will certainly never live up to Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, its varied and evolved sound, like that of Apar, shows how both groups are willing to take chances for the sake of growth. Apar is a good enough album, one with some noteworthy songs and themes, but one that feels a little too dismissive to be a good Delorean release.
The album title translates to “froth,” and labels the album appropriately, as change and upheaval seem to be the central themes. Sometimes, though, change can take a little too much out of something so good.
Delorean – Apar tracklist:
- “Destitute Time”
- “You Know It’s Right”
- “Keep Up”
- “Walk High”
- “Your Face”
- “Still You”