reviewed by Michael Thomas
It’s been two-and-a-half years or so since Delta Will put out a recording, and a whole lot has changed since then. It All Glows was still early days; at that time it was just Charles Tilden playing most instruments, with Lowell Whitty on drums. The unit has expanded since then, and Weathering is a compelling glimpse into what Delta Will has become and what it can be.
When Delta Will was a solo act (and when Whitty came aboard) the project payed tribute to old blues records but mixed with modern sensibilities like loops. With the addition of Brandon Johns and Milan Schramek, the band’s sound has expanded to include hints of psychedelic rock and electro-pop influences.
Weathering is a good way to explain why Delta Will’s self-described genre of “existential pop” fits their sound to a tee. There are more than a few references to being in a dream (not to mention a song called “A Dream”) and much of the music could be called dreamlike. There are questions, there is doubt; but off in the distance, there seems to be peace.
After the shimmering guitar and synth of “Dawn Song” ring in the album, “We Were Born” serves as an effective bridge from It All Glows to the band’s more complex sound—it’s got a bluesy feel, but as the keys swell, they serve as a means to show how the music will change. First single “Manic Pulse” oscillates between highs and lows (“You are empty now/You are happy now”) and building to a buoyant chorus.
Also in the realm of familiar is “Good Will,” which first appeared on the Transcendental Visits EP, but reworked with the full band. It somehow manages to top the previous version and remains one of the best songs Delta Will has created. “A Dream,” the album’s second single, is an appropriately dreamy, turbulent song that captures the feeling of being deep in the middle of something hard to understand.
Of course there’s lots that’s new. “In the Fog” is perhaps the most blistering rock song the band has put out, and “Give It a Chance” is another album highlight. The latter is very dense, with more distorted guitar and some keyboard riffs. Tilden rocks quite the falsetto here and there’s a sense of confusion as he sings “I can feel my blood rise, but I don’t want to be that way.”
There are some deeply spiritual elements to this too—”Are We Gonna Make It?” feels like an old spiritual and is a great bit of vocal harmony. Finale “I Will Receive It” is content to start to build something new. It’s a swirling, dreamy soundscape as Tilden opens the song with “It all begins with the naming of things/Things that we dream, we can breathe some life into.”
Weathering is the beginning of what I can only hope is a long discography. Delta Will has so many musical avenues open to them and it looks like they can handle each of them with aplomb.
Top Tracks: “Manic Pulse”; “Give It a Chance”; “Good Will”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)