Album of the Month - January 2019
Rough Trade Exclusive 180 gram clear vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with bonus 7" of two unreleased tracks and bonus CD feat. extras from "The Imperial Sessions".
Nearly 5 years after the release of their first and only album, The Delines return with The Imperial, a fully realised country-soul anthology of the provincial American under-class in crisis.
The break was never intended to be so long, but after Amy Boone was hit by a car in Austin, TX the other band members supported the lead-singer through her recovery and rehabilitation before creating their sophomore album.
Much like Colfax, The Imperial draws on the dark and seedy underbelly of the States (lonely bars, violent men and living out of cars). The character-led lyrics (written by novelist Willy Vlautin) set the foundations for ten vignettes about hard-living, hard-drinking, flawed but ultimately romantic American heroes.
The two lead singles from The Imperial give you a taste of what is in-store. Holly The Hustle is the story of a con artist, brought up and abandoned by a failing alcoholic horse-breeder whilst Eddie and Polly is the tale of two people in the throes of a toxic yet addictive relationship in deep Louisiana.
But Amy Boone's warm, maternal voice is sympathetic not derisive. In fact, it's Boones vocals, along with the subtle chorus of slide guitars, electric pianos and gospel choirs that bring these stories to life. The brass is littered throughout the record releasing the songs from their "sleepy tales told in a bar" origins to their soul ballad potential. Mellow, hazy and atmospheric making the whole affair very intimate.
So come on in to The Delines' roadside bar, get yourself some rye and let the landlady tell you about the characters that come and go. The gritty, oft-forgotten Americans, the Americans of the past, the present and the future.
Albums of the Month
2. Tallies - Tallies
3. Kero Kero Bonito - Time 'N' Place
4. Mara Simpson - 285 Days
5. Selling - On Reflection
6. Charlene Soraia - Where's My Tribe
7. Lorelle Meets The Obscure - De Facto
8. Lubomyr Trees - Fallen Trees
9. Khana Bierbood - Strangers From The Far East
10. Be Svendsen - Between A Smile And A Tear