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The Black Delta Movement - 'Preservation' Album Review


1. Rome

2. Hunting Ground

3. King Mosquito

4. Deceit

5. Hot Coals

6. Let the Rain Come

7. Ivory Shakes

8. For You

9. No End

10. Butterfly

When you think of Psych Rock, you do not automatically think of the city of Hull, however The Black Delta Movement have been causing waves within this genre. The band have the approval of Anton Newcombe, founder and front-man, of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Which is praise indeed as BJM are widely recognised as the masters of Psych Rock and a huge influence of The Black Delta Movement. Over the years, the band have also earned approval from the likes Alan McGee (Creation Records) and Barrie Cadogan (Little Barrie/The The/Primal Scream). It is an interesting observation that the iconic Brian Jonestown Massacre are widely known by the acronym BJM, and Black Delta Movement are known as BDM. I wonder if the similarity is by co-incidence or design. Surely a two man band from Hull could not give the kings of Psych Rock a run for their money, or could they?

BDM comprise of Matt Burr and Dominic Abbott and cite their influences as, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Paul Weller, The Small Faces and The Black Keys amongst others. They are not new on the scene having formed in 2010 and have played over 280 shows since their formation. In that time, The Black Delta Movement has built up a solid reputation as an outstanding live act. The band have supported bands such as Little Barrie, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Embrace, The Stranglers, The Alabama Three, Kaiser Chiefs, Temples, Drenge, Toy, The View, Shaun Ryder, Jefferson Airplane and Steve Cradock. Although they have released various EPs their debut album is long overdue, and it is with anticipation that I first played it.

'Rome' starts with an industrial guitar riff, before the drums and bass line join in, with glorious fuzziness. The vocals battle with the heavy instrumentation, in what is reminiscent of a 90's heavy baggy sound. Perhaps this is an easy introduction to those with more sensitive ears as 'Hunting Ground' takes us into the more trippier side of Psych Rock. A pretty brutal bass line drives the track like a giant locomotive. Heavy scuzzy guitars layer onto the bass and percussion in a reverb laden track. 'King Mosquito' keeps the fuzzy sound, but it has an almost Punk feel about it, a touch of the Stooges comes through, and you can't help moving to the rhythm. This track, live, must get the whole throng jumping and swaying like some sort of demented organic being. I could really feel the BRMC influence in 'Deceit' which again would get the crowd going. With its heavy bass line and screaming guitar, it is a short number, as the others have been, for this genre of music. Things slow down with 'Hot Coals' with it's very 90's guitar intro, and focus on the initial vocal, it slowly becomes more trippier and more retro. With increasing reverb on the vocals, there track becomes more fuzzy. The heavy guitars are delicious on this track and it is one of the stand outs for me. The 'Whooo. Wahooo' that is repeated throughout is pure Newcombe, and not a pale imitation. You could be forgiven for thinking you are listening to classic BJM, if you didn't know it was BDM.

'Let The Rain Come' starts with scratchy insectile guitar string scrapes. This track is full of energy and has an oppressive quality. Another great live track I think, which you can lose yourself in. The percussion is relentless but the track closes with the same scratchy guitars far too soon at two and a half minutes. 'Let The Rain Come' could easily be two or three times longer to be really trippy and I suspect it is when played live. Its full fuzz and scuzz on 'Ivory Shakes'. With catchy lyrics the instrumentation is brilliant on this track. The bass line is unrelenting, the percussion is frenzied, and the guitar interludes with some really intricate riffs. The vocals are simple in comparison but have an acid trip drawl to them. 'For You' draws you in with its repetitive trance like rhythm. The vocals are spaced out to compliment the hypnotic feel of the track. The penultimate song ironically is called 'No End'. It is introduced with mighty tom bashing and high energy instrumentation. The vocals are fuzzy and trippy with the heavy rhythm clearly being the focus of the track. At just under five minutes long, this is more like it. BDM finish the album in style with the single release 'Butterfly'. Heavy clangy guitars get us started, and the vocals are light and full of summer. The track floats like the winged creature on the wind. Everything is pretty much perfect with this track. The percussion ebbs and flows. with intensity and then with subtlety. At just under three minutes in the musicianship takes over with beautiful guitar, a tinkle of symbol here and there. Reverb kicks in throughout to punctuate the strings. It is a gentle swaying track that mesmerises you before it notches up the tempo towards the end.

To answer my original question could The Black Delta Movement give The Brian Jonestown Massacre a run for their money? Not yet, but I think they are in the starting blocks. The album has been well thought through and produced. They have kept the balance between producing a studio album and retaining enough of the raw live sound. As I mentioned before I think that some of the tracks could have been longer, but I can see what they have done. They have walked another tightrope between the heavy trippy Rock that they excel at and keeping the album accessible and playlist friendly. The track listing almost draws you in gently before exposing you to larger more industrial fuzzy doses. I hope that the second album picks up where this left off and that The Black Delta Movement shake off any shackles and go for it. I also hope that BDM don't wait too long to do it.

The Black Delta Movement have created a great debut album, and I cannot wait to see where they go from here. There is a lot of tripping ahead that's for sure. It could have been heavier, but I think that these tracks will sound brilliant live, and will be stunning on vinyl. I will wait to see BDM live, but have already got the vinyl on pre-order.

Preservation will be released on August 3, 2018 via Clubbed Thumb Records.

Review - Tony Creek

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