For a band whose name comes from the transitional stage between light and deep sleep, Delta Sleep aren’t lacking in interesting, captivating material. Not only did their debut Twin Galaxies see a band fusing math-rock with early-2000s alt-rock and post-hardcore with total ease, but there’s a sense of excitement in their material that so many of their less-developed contemporaries can muster. Even if it’s not breaking the mould, there’s a lot of respect to be had for how far Delta Sleep have come, particularly in a profoundly underground and inaccessible genre.
As for Ghost City, the couple of years in between albums has seen Delta Sleep hone their craft even more, pumping up a heavily melodic canvas that pulls from classic Britrock more than ever, while still allowing their tactile math-rock come to the fore. It goes off without a hitch as well, giving Delta Sleep the chance for the intricacies in their sound to flourish while keeping grounded to a tried-and-true alt-rock core. That’s not always the case – Ghost and Glass are fine enough as instrumental palate cleansers but don’t have much more appeal with how brittle they are – but Ghost City has a surprising amount of staying power, especially for how understated and subdued it mostly is.
That’s possibly one of Delta Sleep’s biggest assets on this album, the way they can construct a song through utterly impervious melodies alone and have it resonate without resorting to anything overly poppy. The roiling, flowing quality to Single File and Sans Soliel ensures there’s always kinesis to keep things working out, and After Dark is bascially a straight-up rock song, albeit with the constant spidery guitar line for the sense of closeness that Delta Sleep play with so well. Even on a weaker track like Dotwork, which feels a bit too underweight and overly meek to connect to any significant degree, there’s a level of detail that’s hard to fault, and with minimal production interference to give an oddly hypnotic vocal performance from Devin Yuceil the chance to really shine, Ghost City unfurls itself as an easy album to both get to grips with and like, an achievement which, for a math-rock album, is no small feat.
And while it ultimately won’t change the world, Ghost City still has ample qualities to make it well worth a listen. Delta Sleep are the sort of band who’ll never likely become mainstream darlings to any capacity, but with technical proficiency and an ear for gleaming, crystalline melodies, there’s plenty worth getting onboard with regardless. In a burgeoning UK scene, Delta Sleep are just one of many that need to be given much, more more attention.
For fans of: TTNG, Tangled Hair, Tall Ships
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Ghost City’ by Delta Sleep is released on 10th August on Big Scary Monsters.