CD REVIEW: Delorean Drivers - Delorean Drivers
By: Neil Thomas
"Gloriously Luscious Pop"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST -
I’ve been waiting ages… but I finally got my hands on a pre-release promo copy of DeLorean Drivers self-titled debut album. It seems that some kind of miracle occurred when the cream of the musicians from Leeds, West Yorkshire (UK) managed to combine forces to create a truly outstanding act. The nine-strong line up consists of Darren Driver (Vocals), Lady O (Vocals and Strings), Danger (Guitar), Duncan Boak (Guitar), Billy Richards (Bass), Leigh Stothard (Drums), Nathan Legge (Electronics), Lauren Moreau (Backing Vocals & Harp) and finally, Paula Cunningham (Backing Vocals)
Although it’s a promo copy, the CD was elegantly packaged in a simple black sleeve with the bands logo emblazoned in foil and having already heard the DeLorean Driver’s play live, it seemed the perfect classy and understated look for what I knew was inside. Album artwork is always a funny thing… and it always amazes me how well cover art suggests what’s inside! The Drivers kick things off straight away with “Depardieu” a very hooky, up-tempo contemporary piece that mixes catchy and very accessible ideas with a little dance-floor kitche. Right from the start this band is ultra-radio-friendly and in your face demanding your attention. Track 2 “Save Me” puts charismatically slick and dapper frontman Darren Driver centre stage for the main part of the show. This is Jarvis Cocker re-invented for the 21st Century – the perfect showman, primed and ready to lead an act that has all the potential to become a global phenomenon. With the style firmly established, the fourth track “Empties’ takes us another step on the DeLorean journey. The first part of “Empties” introduces Moreau’s beautiful harp playing together with a very sensitive lyric from Driver as he laments an evening of over indulgent drinking. The arrangement is gloriously spacious with the built-up chorus augmented with Stothard’s precision military snare rolls and punctuating bass drum complemented by Billy Richard’s understated bass. The harp is the definite centrepiece here. Surprisingly, the song hits a turning point with its key-change and sudden halt. Enter Lady O, centre stage. You can almost hear the solitary spotlight on her, as her incredible voice delivers the immortal lines “When the tears come, we’ll freeze them where they fall, Stand tall, we’re all afraid to cry, sometimes”. Remarkably beautiful, her velvet textured vocal raised the hairs on the back of my neck and melted my heart!
My immediate thought was, “how the hell are they going to follow that?!” …but they do, as Darren Driver returns ‘a capella’ with “See all the people, see all the cool people” before the band bring us straight back to the dance floor for another classic modern funk masterpiece. “Too Cool to Kiss” is destined for the high-end of the charts and is a guaranteed floor-filler. It doesn’t stop there. The next track “Dancing With my Sisters Boyfriend”, is a little throw-away bubble-gum pop but this is clearly another tune that they have a lot of fun playing and I’m sure it goes down great with live audiences too. I struggled hard to find anything at all to fault on this CD. If I was going to be really picky, there is a minor problem with the compression on the drums on tracks like “Paper Trail” and “Taking Hold” but given the superb instrumentation, vocal harmonies and brilliant arrangements these problems pale into insignificance. There are moments when the eighties influences seem to dominate, but with plenty of modern elements thrown in, it never becomes much of a problem - as a listener I remained entertained the entire time.
Overall this is perhaps the most exciting musical act I’ve heard this year. The CD is a representation of where they are right now, at the very start of their game. With their skills at writing, recording, performing and promoting they have clearly demonstrated their exceptional talent to turn out a very slick and commercial product, and that’s before a major label puts on their own spit and polish. If record executives can’t turn this nine-piece into a global success then the pop world will surely miss a trick. I have seen the future… and it’s a classy fast car with doors like wings!!