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(72:48, ‘Delusion Squared’)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Same River Thrice 2:44 2. Diaspora 4:16 3. Patient Zero 5:16 4. Reason of State 6:51 5. Devil Inside 6:56 6. Last Day of Sun 5:23 7. Finally Free 6:41 8. Prisoner's Dilemma 6:43 9. Black Waters 5:35 10. By The Lake 4:32 11. Oblivion for My Sin 6:46 12. Persistance of Vision 5:44 13. Deus in Machina 5:21 LINEUP: Lorraine Young – vocals; guitars Steven Francis – guitars; drums Emmanuel de Saint Meen – bass; keyboards
Prolusion. The French trio DELUSION SQUARED is a comparatively new band, formed back in 2009 and released their debut the following year. Since then an album has followed every two years. "The Final Delusion" is their third full-length production, self-released in 2014.
Analysis. With "The Final Delusion", the French band Delusion Squared appears to finalize what has been quite the undertaking: to conclude a theme story explored over three full-length albums. That is quite the achievement by a young band in itself, no matter what style they explore or the quality of the music itself, either. To maintain and develop a single story over three albums is rather impressive. That the band appears to master the art of songwriting just as good as the art of storytelling is, of course, an important aspect when regarding this conceptual cycle as a whole, and the grand, total package comes across as rather impressive. As far as this final installment goes, it is a delicate one. The greater majority of the compositions are fairly gentle in nature, with careful bass and drums, supporting acoustic guitars, delicate keyboard textures and futuristic sounds are key elements as far as instrumentation goes. Atmospheric material, at times with a distinct cinematic feel. Or rather, the greater parts of most compositions revolve around those elements, as the band occasionally will add in some guitar soloing or textures, organ sounds appear here and there, and sequences sporting hard-edged riffs do appear as well, and some of the compositions actually do have a bit more bite to them with harder-edged riff constructions a dominating presence. I seem to recall comparing the band to Porcupine Tree on previous occasions; this time around I'd say that on this particular CD they do employ many of the same elements, but assemble them into themes and arrangements that have a different sound but comparable in terms of general approach. Where Delusion Squared separates most is in the vocals department, however. Their songs, apart from some token instrumentals, revolve to a much greater degree around the vocals. There is a story being told here after all, so the vocal parts do dominate, and in Lorraine Young they have a vocalist with a distinct delivery. Not a powerful vocalist in the traditional sense is my impression, I'd have a hard time imagining this vocalist belting out a Janis Joplin song to put it that way. But her delicate delivery, with something of a naive quality, is one that will charm a lot of listeners. The distinct French accent is perhaps something of an acquired taste, but it also emphasizes the naive and innocent quality of it all, something that does give this band and this album a characteristic mood and quality.
Conclusion. The fairly gentle material that dominates this album, paired off with controlled, harder-edged impact sequences and occasional compositions with a dominant hard-edged sound, is one that should invoke quite a lot of interest by those who come across this production. A certain affection for female lead vocals is required of course, and then for vocals that are characteristically careful and with a strong feeling of innocence to them. Those who enjoy the gentler sides of a band like Porcupine Tree appears for me as a key audience for this CD, and especially those amongst them with a taste for futuristic sounds and science fiction based concept albums.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 14, 2015
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