For me, the acronym ‘DIY’ instantly conjures up images of crap shelving, badly hung wallpaper, louping thumb nails and excessive cursing. Mercifully, in terms of music, the abbreviation denotes something far more interesting (and far less frustrating/ painful). With a wealth of emerging artists unwilling to become corporate whores to the ‘music industry’, many are instead opting to do it themselves, and the results are fairly impressive.
Lanarkshire alt-rock quartet Minor Delilah present a master class in DIY. From ferocious social media campaigns, to street gigs and busking their way around Scotland, these lads will do whatever it takes to get their music heard… without selling their souls to Sony in the process. In my humble opinion, one of the best videos to emerge on Facebook and YouTube this year features Minor Delilah busking on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, while local legend Leo ‘The Silent Raver’ gets his groove on (seriously, you should check it out here, it’s utterly brilliant).
Debut album Sleep Dream Forget, released in November, is the product of Minor Delilah’s continued hard graft and stellar work ethic. Opening track “Sleep Dream Forget (Sleep)” eases the listener into the album, with mellow, unadorned lyrical loveliness from lead vocalist Nick Scroggie. The tune gently swells and falls, before abruptly barrelling into “This is the Life”, an entirely more upbeat affair, which leaves one pleasantly surprised by these guys’ scope and depth. Featuring robust and hurtling percussion for the first two and a half minutes, the track again blindsides the listener, with a dramatic shift to tinkling piano chords and near whispered vocals in its final third. Album highlight “Sorry on Sunday” is all about the acoustic guitar, and includes a bloody gorgeous staccato, finger-picked bridge into the song’s final chorus.
Dropping the mood several notches “The Bad Guy” is sombre and regretful as Scroggie pleads ‘leave her alone/ she’s with me’ whilst melancholy backing vocals keen softly in accompaniment. “Will You Be Here Tomorrow” is a further study in contrasts; an up-tempo melody, juxtaposed with unforgiving guitar riffs, and the harshly honest lyrics ‘such a drag/ all the fun we had/ is in a fucking mess’. Evidently, these boys have not had it easy in love and are more than willing to pour their personal suffering into their song writing.
“Just Go!” is the frenetic portrayal of a completely mental Friday night out. The type that everyone has found themselves on at one time or another. A night that seem like a really good idea at the time, but inevitably leads to you ending up going home with one shoe. Or as Scroggie sings, ‘[leaving your] camera phone/ in some random’s home’ (Minor Delilah blame the Jager bombs). “Fade Away” exemplifies yet another change in direction and musical style. Employing a fairly trippy segment of murmured, barely audible, pre-recorded speech, and accompanied by a Bhangra inspired dance beat, with just a hint of electronica, this track proves an appealing interlude in an otherwise largely acoustic record. “Sleep Dream Forget (Wake)” sees the album end where it began, with pleasing symmetry, and a welcome wind-down to conclude this 44 minute long emotional rollercoaster.
No one could accuse Minor Delilah of sounding polished, and I suspect that they have a fair way to go before they realise their full potential. However, their natural aptitude for compelling and eclectic musical arrangement, raw talent, and commitment, make them an interesting prospect for 2015.
Sleep Dream Forget was released 10th November 2014.