Electronic duo Hurts hooked up with the legendary Arthur Baker for 'Wonderful Life' and made it to fourth on the Beeb's 'Sound Of 2010' list. They were pipped to third by their citymates Delphic, who have intentionally set out their stall as the "anti-Gallaghers" with their electronica/indie-pop crossover template.
Debut single 'Doubt' goes some way towards justifying the hype. Simultaneously sounding like New Order in 1987, 1993 and 2001, with bits nabbed from 'Bizarre Love Triangle', 'Regret' and 'Crystal', it does its bit to show that Manchester isn't just about strumming and snarling. It's a definite highlight of Acolyte but it's not the only one. Opener 'Clarion Call' offers the same heady mix of guitars, keys and floating melody lines that connected all of Bernard Sumner's wonderful projects. However, pick of the bunch is the nearly nine-minute, mainly instrumental title track. An ambient indie disco stomper reminiscent of Booka Shade's recent work (if perhaps not as dreamy), it's a track you can imagine finding in the record bags of DJs from across the genres.
Sadly, several other moments fail to match these tracks for power, melody and a palpable sense of enthusiasm. 'This Momentary' boasts brooding bass, possibly New Order-referencing lyrics ("In a fine time, take the time to find me") and some neat electronic squeaks and squelches, but it's never entirely convincing. Meanwhile, 'Red Lights' wears you down over its six minutes and the melody of 'Halcyon' sounds far too much like a Klaxons off-cut for comfort.
But even if not everything quite comes off, enough does to warrant the attention Delphic are attracting. Other notable tracks include 'Counterpoint', which runs Future Sound Of London's 'Papua New Guinea' through a rock club 'til it just about emerges battered, bruised and smiling at the end, and the laid-back indie groove of 'Submission', which brings to mind '90s darlings Mansun. It might not be as wildly innovative as some are making out, but with their debut, Delphic have just about earned that ones-to-watch position for the year ahead.