Delta Sleep return with an emotional Ghost City Rarities EP consisting of four re-worked tracks from their acclaimed 2018 album.
Delta Sleep left a big impression on us with their last album Ghost City (read our review here). It was fun, energetic, and highly infectious. Less than a year later, the band is back with some different outtakes for a few tracks from the last album, in the form of the new EP, Ghost City Rarities.
I would generally start the review talking about how the new album fares compared to the band’s previous work and the general sonic trajectory the band seems to be taking. But none of that applies to Ghost City Rarities. This record is definitely meant to be complementary to the full-length released last year and is a complete step away from the sound Delta Sleep have built for themselves. Where Ghost City is a record brimming with energy, Rarities seems to be a one-off experiment in taking a much more laid back calm approach to the same music.
Ghost City Rarities consists of four tracks and the first two are the album opener and closer on the original full-length – “Sultans of Ping” and “Afterimage”, this time with the vocals re-recorded alongside Japanese math-rockers tricot. Those who have listened to Ghost City will remember how “Sultans of Ping” started from the simplest rhythm and built up the tempo, and how “Afterimage” ended the album with a mellow acoustic version of the same tune found on the album opener. On Rarities, “Sultans of Ping” takes a slightly more mellow approach, never hitting the same crescendo as the original. Sung completely in Japanese by Ikkyu and Co., the track possesses a much wider soundstage, thanks to the different style of vocal delivery.
“Afterimage” is a much more straightforward affair, exactly like the original, but with tricot’s members taking over the vocals for the second half of the track. This makes it feel like a beautiful duo between Devin and Ikkyu, with the lone acoustic guitar playing in the background. A closer listen also reveals Devin softly singing along with Ikkyu in Japanese!
The second half of the EP features Delta Sleep’s own acoustic renditions of “Single File” and “Sans Soleil”. On the original full-length album, both these tracks were perfect examples of Delta Sleep’s uncanny ability to seamlessly weaves together complex time signatures and foot-tapping rhythms, being almost ethereal in the lighter moments and completely crushing in the heavier segments. The acoustic renditions on Ghost City Rarities take a much more emotional approach, with each major strumming of the guitar tugging at the listener’s heart. The lyrics take a bigger space in the overall structure with Devin’s vocal capabilities truly shine out.
At this point, let’s not beat around the bush. Delta Sleep have well cemented themselves as a young innovative band, spreading their wings far beyond the realm of math-rock and Ghost City Rarities is no exception. An emotional EP that showcases a different facet of the band. The vocals by tricot add an oriental charm to the overall affair. A definite must listen.