Barcelona four-piece Delorean has existed in one form or another for the better part of the past decade, genre-hopping and generally working its way through the inherent growing pains of being a band of teenagers. Initially somewhat of a dance-punk band, Delorean has made stylistic shift toward electronic music, picking up the Balearic mantle that is the members’ geographic birthright.
But the conversation here shouldn’t concern the where or the why or the how; these questions are easily answered and/or entirely irrelevant. We’ll talk about the what — that being the songs, which are a master class in breezy electro-pop. A quick glance at the track list reveals all you need to know: Song titles like “Endless Sunset” and “Warmer Places” prove apt descriptions of Delorean’s summertime beach jams.
The members of Delorean are smart enough to realize that they have a sound that, in a time when most dance-pop is largely interchangeable, qualifies as distinct. The formula they employ is simple enough: Take a female vocal sample, add a piano loop and some synths, throw in some vaguely Balearic beat drums, and toss in a marimba or something. Sing over that and you’ve got a song. On paper, it looks like the template for a track by the Tough Alliance, Air France or any other summer-y Swedish acts from the last five years, yet the bands’ hyper-specific sample choices and rather static instrument tones lend themselves to a sound that is distinctly Delorean.
Like 2009s’ Ayrton Senna EP, Subiza has one head-and-shoulders-above-everything-else, album-defining, put-this-on-your-mixtape single. That’s “Stay Close.” It’s a big, polished piece of synth pop, propulsive enough to kill on the dance floor, but so damn effortless-sounding that you can just throw it on and kick back. “Stay Close” sounds like driving around with the windows down in a car full of your friends on a summer night. You’ll likely hear this song a thousand times this summer.
The records’ remaining tracks don’t quite measure up to “Stay Close,” but they don’t need to. Despite the rather dimininishing returns of each subsequent track, Subiza proves to be an ideal summertime album. It’s relentlessly upbeat but not needlessly sugary, uncomplicated but not mindless. You could do far worse than an album with one great song and no bad ones.
Delorean, with five releases—three albums and two EPs–to its credit, has successfully managed to transition the sound that worked so well on its critically acclaimed 2009 EP into a full-length album. The elements that made “Deli” such a compelling single last year are embedded in every track on Subiza, as are the elements that make “Stay Close” the albums’ standout song.
The members are surely aware that they aren’t exactly reinventing anything here, so it is difficult to fault them for a lack of variation from song to song. Creating great pop music is an accomplishment in itself, and it’s doubly impressive for a band that as recently as five years ago was making largely forgettable, Rapture-lite dance punk. Subiza is the culmination of a years-long growing process in which Delorean was able to synthesize its influences into a sound all its own. It isn’t flawless, but it could be this year’s most perfect summertime album.