The Good Ship Rediscovery: Delakota – One Love

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

On the heels of the passing fad of triphop and just before garagey The bands took over the world, back at the dawn of the 2000s, came something not quite Fatboy Slim DJ-ism and not quite pure band. Knob-twiddling dudes with a sense of song structure. Delakota was one of these such collectives (another favorite of mine, the Lo-Fidelity Allstars, being another example), some gents with a penchant for good samples and good beats which more often than not resulted in some pretty dang good songs.

One Love gets underway with the somewhat lazy "C'mon Cincinnati," a drowsy little song built around the soundtrack from the Steve McQueen classic The Cincinnati Kid. Right away, you get an idea of the Delakota ethos, a big buildup of beats and some vocals that were just this side of bratty, and in tone very Tim Burgess/Ian Brown-esque. I've always adored second track "I Thought I Caught," leisurely and measured in pace but full of little treats like soaring, high-pitched lady vocals and a few little astronaut samples thrown in for kicks. The ending gets a bit livelier, and the song is the better for it.

I listened to several of the songs on One Love more times than I'd ever venture to hazard a guess at. "555" is one of those songs, jaunty in its street sense jangle, vocals smooth and confident, and some brass thrown into the mix adds that extra something. I even forgive them their grammatical sins (for the line "Where you is is where you stand," among others) because the song is simply the business. "The Rock" is probably the most-listened to of all Delakota songs in my life, and it's a splendid little ditty. Warmed with beaty sunshine and one heck of a guitar riff, I can still remember closing my eyes and listening to this song for hours in my room. It used to mesmerize me, and that slow repetition can still reel me in. To me, that song alone was worth the cost of that there CD.

The Delakota team took a stab at abrasiveness with the jarring "Brothers," a song that I used to equally love and frown at. The dissonance and beatiness sometimes played nice, and the extra dose of sneer in the vocals added an extra jolt to the in-your-faceness. Whether or not it's aged well, I'm still not sure. Regardless, One Love has given me much joy over the years. I can only hope that some of those big beats and twiddling knobs will put a smile on your lovely faces.

m4a: The Rock (Delakota from One Love)


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