Album: Delmer Darion – Morning Pageants review

by Paddy Kinsella

As Delmer Darion, Tom Lenton and Oliver Jack avoid any categorisation on their debut album

It’s human nature to pigeonhole, and to be able to giftwrap something in a nice box ahead of presenting it. That need is even more acute in music. Indeed, when something falls outside of those binaries, you can’t help but agree with the famous quote, ‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ Even as a music writer.

Moving from tape-hissing folk to the sun-dappled electronica of Maribou State, and to the disrupting glitches of Arca and Holly Herndon across its 43-minute runtime, this debut is akin to the experience of standing in a hotel corridor where the doors to every room are flung open; Morning Pageants offers a glimpse of different lives and lifestyles all co-existing in one building.

Incredibly though, they pull it off. A network of hisses and whirs stop the train from going off the track, preparing you for each dramatic shift. A coterie of voices also makes for a reassuring presence like when you’re lost in the woods, but the hum of cars keeps you believing that the end is in sight. There have been some nightmarish vocalist selections on producer-led records – Young Thung and Popcaan on Jamie XX’s I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times), and Bon Iver on James Blake’s I Need a Forest Fire. But here they are selected with care – drawn with purpose from London’s underground folk scene. What’s even more impressive is how sparingly they appear; they sing for just as long as it makes sense within the song. On Lacuna, Louise Essex sings for barely a verse, but it’s just enough to pull you out from the ominous dark and into the light.

It’s this meticulous attention to detail that makes Morning Pageants a success. Though the record is punctuated with unnerving bangs and thrashes, it still has enough to the contrary to balance the scales. There’s an equal for every opposite, and an answer for every question. Making a record as eclectic as this feel palatable and seamless is no easy feat, and this is why Delmer Darion should be regarded as masters in their field.

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