If there's one thing that Delerium has historically done very well, it has been picking out female vocalists and collaborators. A quick run through of their work shows the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Leigh Nash, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Zoe Johnston, and longtime contributor Kristy Thirsk. But this focus on female vocalists also brought about a stylistic shift in the band. Where some of their earlier work relied more on either gothic industrial or instrumental soundscapes with more through-composed output, the vocals eventually led them down the path of doing music that was much more rooted in the Enigma vein of pop.
Fauxliage is their new guise (and is added to their growing list of alter-egos), and finds them finally "settling down" with just one vocalist and making a proper pop album. Leigh Nash has become a more consistent collaborator for the duo, having contributed to two prior Delerium albums. And this trio now becomes Fauxliage. Those familiar with Delerium's recent output, and in particular Leigh's contributions, should know what to expect. They aren't breaking any new ground here, just rounding it out into a full length.
Leigh Nash seems both an unlikely and perfect addition to the mix. Although a regular contributor in the past, she was no more regular than several other vocalists that could have been picked. However, she has a beautiful, frail, and otherworldly voice that adds a much-needed texture to the songs. On their own, they could just be more of the light-electronica pop fare. But with her voice, they become something much more unique.
The album opens with "All The World", and starts an interesting thread for the kind of record it helps to shape. It's lyrically pretty dark. Most of the songs are about strained or dying love. The opening chorus sings "I'm having a hard time / I'm making you do the hard time too / I'm stuck in a bad way / And I'm gonna make you pay for it." But in general the music is so much prettier and more delicate than the lyrics it surrounds that you might not even notice the dark undertones until much later.
The tempo for the record stays very mid-tempo, while dipping into a couple of slower tunes. "Draw My Life" and the album closer "All Alone" are both down-tempo without becoming overly slow and sentimental. Highlights include "All The World", "Without You" and "Let It Go". Also in standard Delerium fashion, there are a couple of instrumental tracks included. "Magic" and "Vibing" help fill out the offering into a full album. Musically, they stick to the style of the other tracks and are a nice break/addition.
But it's the overall quality of the album that impresses the most. Instead of collaborations forced together through market pressures, this has a very natural and inspired vibe throughout. It's a real album from start to finish, and sheds any thoughts of experiment or trial run.
Some of Delerium's prime exposure in the past has come through club remixes of their tracks, fattening them up to a dance floor thump. We'll see if Fauxliage breaks into the same waters. If so, "Let It Go" could lend itself to some prime peak-time hand raising. In the interim, the release is padded with a couple remixes of "Rafe." The Gabe remix is very Fatboy Slim-ish, and is a jaunty summer mix. The Pacha mix is a slower lounge-house mix, in the vein of Thievery Corporation, and neither bothers nor excites.
Fauxliage seems much better than perhaps the idea would on paper. Leigh's voice has never sounded better than it does here, and the Delerium guys show they're not at a loss for constructing nice electronic-pop songs. It remains to be seen whether Fauxliage is a one-off project or if the pairing has some legs. I'm sure record sales will play into that decision, so a word to the masses is sufficient.Powered by Sidelines