Band: Delusion Squared
Band Website: www.delusionsquared.com
Release Date: 2010
The other day I received the debut CD from a French band called Delusion Squared. Sung in English this is a dark sci-fi story that incorporates elements of religion, genetics, creation and a whole lot more. What initially impressed me was that the band had so thoroughly thought out their subject. Then I put the disc on…and well…it’s pretty impressive. Especially given that it’s their first outing. Delusion Squared formed in 2009 and is a trio made up of Lorraine Young (vocals, guitars), Steve Francis (guitars, drums, keyboards) and Emmanuel de Saint Meen (bass, keyboards). Stylistically the sound here is very modern almost an Alt-Prog but very clearly influenced by the classic symphonic style.
We’re looking at eleven tracks specifically grouped into four sections, and many of these tracks are linked together in a variety of ways. The songs in terms of length are anywhere from 2:44 to 7:49. The overall sound focuses on guitars, both acoustic and electric share the spotlight and while keyboards are present they play a far more subtle role through most of these songs; a piano line here or a atmospheric synth there. Young’s vocals are very pleasing to my ears. She has a kind of plaintive tone and reminded me a lot of a style made popular by the country-pop artist Taylor Swift. It’s great to hear such a unique vocal approach set in a progressive rock recording. I referred to Delusion Squared’s style as Alt-Prog only because there is a very modern sound to this disc. And yet a song like the slower to mid-tempo “In My Time of Dying” [5:52] has an almost basic Yes influence. It starts off with some soft acoustic guitar picking, a little electric guitar and keyboard pads are soon introduced and then the vocals, sung soft, delicate and very up-front. At about the two-minute mark, just in time for the second verse, the whole song is lifted up with the introduction of drums, bass and string sounds. The song starts getting busier. At about the four-minute mark a filtered speaking voice is introduced filling in the story line while the band get into a riff that builds from acoustic to electric and in intensity very much like the ending of a song like “Starship Trooper.” It’s brilliant! These songs get heavy at times with some nice crunchy guitar work ala Porcupine Tree as on a track like “The Betrayal” [5:11] but overall this is not a heavy disc. There’s too much acoustic guitar and Young’s vocals that balance everything out.
The sound of Delusion Squared is simply refreshing. In their own way, they’ve presented a unique spin on the symphonic prog genre, incorporating many traditional elements in a very modern way. It’s heavy when it needs to be, but they’re not afraid to play the softer stuff too. I understand they’re working on a new album and I for one am looking forward to that. This first self-titled CD is a sparkling release and I heartily recommend it.