God Help The Delphines
Milwaukee’s The Delphines burst onto the scene only four months ago with the brief Fear EP, on which they upset noisy, bubblegum hooks with edgy lyrics about violence and drifters. The band moved into even darker territory, musically and lyrically, with the “Panic” single, which was inspired by Al Pacino’s drug-addled romance Panic In Needle Park. Keeping in line with that trajectory, the new EP God Help The Delphines is as lovably grim as its predecessors, armed with a heavier, more rock-influenced sound to match Jami Eaton’s hard-luck lyricism.
The Delphines’ new groove is heralded by the Stones-like swagger of opener “Hit Me Up,” which departs from the band’s familiar four-on-the-floor rhythms with big, swinging chords and a snarling lead guitar. Frenetic middle tracks “’71” and “Uptown Lover” are marked by Harrison Colby’s boomerang guitar and boiling tempos courtesy of the always-chugging rhythm section of Lucas Riddle and Jeremy Ault. The locus of the songs, though, is Eaton’s vocals. Sounding like a snotty Kate Bush, she brings convincing grit to the songs and their weird cast of characters. On slow-burning standout “Half Of A Century,” she masquerades as a 50-year-old woman with eyes for a younger man. In a smoky drawl, Eaton paints our hero in fine strokes: matchbook, half-bottle of gin, “two hours in the car outside your house and I don’t wanna go in”—a complex and entirely believable spinster melodrama in the space of three minutes.
2012 has been fruitful for The Delphines. On their third offering this year, the group evolves slightly, without forfeiting its punchy, paranoid pop and lyrical substance. Though the band’s entire catalog clocks in at only 25 minutes, the rate at which it’s going points to a promising and prolific future.