Sunday 19 November 2017

Why, why, why is Delilah not topping the charts?

From the Roots Up

John Meagher

John Meagher

Even on early acquaintance, it's clear that there is no shortage of singles on Delilah's debut album. In fact, four tracks have already been released. But they have fallen on the ears of a largely disinterested public, with one of them failing even to break into the top 100 in the UK singles chart.

Consequently, 21-year-old Londoner Paloma Stoecker remains best known for her guest vocal on the Chase & Status single, Time, which managed a far higher chart placing than she's experienced to date.

It would be a shame if this album goes the same way as her singles because it's an intriguing, atmospheric collection that showcases a distinctive vocalist.

From the Roots Up offers a melting pot of genres -- most pertinently dubstep and electro-pop -- and Stoecker can move from one style to the next seamlessly.

Much of the music reveals itself in a languid fashion, but there's plenty going on beneath the surface -- opener Never Be Another, for instance, is all skittering beats and backward loops.

Elsewhere, Stoecker's commercial instincts are fine tuned. Go -- one of the aforementioned singles, and the best-performing of the lot -- is a haunting electro-pop gem that borrows lyrics and melody from Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody.

Although Stoecker has songwriting credits throughout, a host of tunesmiths have been employed to flesh out the bones of the tunes.

Plan B -- who's been a busy boy of late thanks to the Ill Manors movie and soundtrack -- makes his compositional prowess clear on the catchy, piano-led, strings-inflected Only You.

And Andy Burrows -- the former Razorlight drummer -- shows a fair measure of songwriting nous on the plaintive, atmospheric So Irate.

A highlight comes in the form of a cover. Stoecker takes Inside My Love -- a song from the peerless Minnie Ripperton, who died from cancer at 31 in 1979 -- and makes it her own.

Her voice is a thing of beauty and the sparse, Massive Attack-like accompaniment helps magnify those vocals and the restrained potency of Ripperton's words.

Incidentally, the striking photo of singer that adorns the cover was taken by her grandfather Karl Stoecker, who was responsible for those wonderfully risqué early Roxy Music covers.

KEY TRACKS Go; So Irate; Inside My Love

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