Review : Delilah - From the Roots Up
GuardianDelilah's label contends that she "doesn't sound like anyone else", which isn't quite true: Lianne La Havas and Ren Harvieu are fellow Brit newcomers who have aimed their whisper-to-a-scream vocal capabilities in an understated direction. Delilah distinguishes herself by slowing things to a crawl and adding off-kilter percussive clicks and clacks. "I cannot breathe," she says on Breathe, summing up the airlessness of her debut album – its languor, and a dark minimalism owing much to Portishead, weigh heavily on the listener. Your attention is grabbed by the cracks and snags in her voice, and the uncertainty in the generally downhearted lyrics. A big moment is Insecure, in which a piano tick-tocks as she lays herself on the line, confessing she doesn't know where she stands in her beloved's affections; elsewhere, she makes covers sound like originals. Go, which adapts Rufus's Ain't Nobody, and Love You So, a reworking of Finley Quaye's Even After All, are as compelling as the nine self-written tracks. A remarkable debut....full text
bbcPerhaps best known as guest vocalist on the Chase & Status single Time, the initial assumption might be that Delilah’s debut album unleashes her as a full-blown dubstep diva. But it’s made clear, and pretty quickly at that, that From the Roots Up is an entirely different beast. Which leaves us with the question: who, in that case, is Delilah?
The obvious answer comes in the form of an inimitable voice. Regardless of production or instrumentation, it’s by far and away the star of From the Roots Up. Some of the backwards loops and off-kilter beats – in particular, on opener Never Be Another – could potentially feel messy or clunky, but it’s all held together by a distinctive vocal.
Nothing on From the Roots Up is as immediate as Go’s breathy interpolation of Ain’t Nobody. Such practices are a common theme throughout the album, snatching verses here and there from a range of classics. In spite of co-writers as diverse as Andy Burrows (formerly Razorlight, sometime We Are Scientists drummer) and Plan B, and samples that wink out at you from an ocean of peculiar ideas, there’s a definite theme: From the Roots Up is one long, atmospheric backdrop, the perfect setting for a smoky, bluesy tone....full text
NmeBorn Paloma Stoecker – but there’s clearly only room for the one Paloma in this game – the re-handled Delilah’s best known for bringing a bit of humanity to Chase & Status’ blowhard stadium dubstep. Producers Science, Ballistiq and LV sneak some of those bassy shadows into this debut but Delilah’s heart belongs to mid-’90s trip-hop, her voice betraying an Ella Fitzgerald crack over the swerving strings and muted beats of ‘Insecure’ and ‘Never Be Another’. Studies in tasteful stasis are her thing, and tracks like ‘Breathe’ and ‘I Can Feel You’ have all the impetus of a doorstop, but nevertheless, Delilah’s tone can be gorgeous.
When she finds quirky middle ground between Lykke Li and Regina Spektor on ‘Only You’, covers Minnie Riperton’s ‘Inside My Love’ with gossamer delicacy or caresses the sweetest melody over Nils Frahm-like keys on ‘Shades Of Grey’, she sounds like an Emeli Sandé that’s actually worth all the trouble....full text
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