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Delorean chills out with “Apar”

John Darr | Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You know that kid who starts all the parties and dances on the tables and orders everyone pizza and sings along to all your favorite songs with you?
That was Delorean’s last album, “Subiza” – a joyful kid bursting with energy. “Subiza” boasted enough tropical dancefloor anthems to last you and your friends through the night and into the morning.
Two insanely catchy singles from the album, “Stay Close” and “Real Love”, got enough blog love to catapult Delorean out of their local Spanish club scene and onto the international stage.
Since then, they’ve toured across America and played at Pitchfork music fest. Their combination of high-energy dance music and smooth harmonies has drawn comparisons to Animal Collective, M83 and Cut Copy. They’ve made a name – and a good one.
It’s been three years since “Subiza”. But now that kid who started all the parties, who ordered all those pizzas, who sang along to all those songs – he’s zoned out in the corner, sunken into an armchair, chilling out.
Because Delorean’s new album, “Apar,” doesn’t even try to reach the heights of its predecessor. The explosive energy has been replaced with laid-back atmosphere and soft hooks.
The punchy drums and riffs are gone, replaced by soft synths and reverb-laden guitars. There are no dance floor anthems here, just 80’s-esque stargazing jams and chilled grooves. Sure, the pulsing drumbeats are there, and in many ways it still feels like a dance album, but try dancing to it and you’ll soon find there’s just not much energy there.
That’s not to say it’s a completely bad record. It’s great hangout, adventuring sort of music – think Rusted Root’s song in Ice Age that goes, “Send me on my way,” and just kind of grooves along. “Apar” is a smiling friend putting a hand on your shoulder.
Most of the tracks, smooth and cheerful, have an uncanny ability to lull a listener into a good mood. On “Unhold” and “Your Face”, beautiful female vocals paired with flowing hooks take the album to a few unexpected heights. If nothing else, “Apar” sports many friendly atmospheres just waiting to complete sunny days.
In the end, “Apar” is still a slight disappointment – a step in a safe direction for a band that seemed to burst with excitement and potential. Delorean now falls closer to the likes of chillwave artists like Wild Nothing, and Washed Out, and to be honest, those two bands have already done what “Apar” attempts to do, and they’ve done it better.
But Delorean’s still a young band – this is only their second release. They could go anywhere from here. For now we just bob our heads, smile and hope the next path leads somewhere new and exciting.
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