Delerium – Chimera

By 2003, pretty much everybody had sampled O Euchari, and nearly a decade or so into the good bit of their career, it was time for Delerium to join in the fun. Actually, a lot of people had worked with Zoë Johnston by this stage as well, so Chimera‘s opening track Love may not have much new to offer, but it’s a pretty good song nonetheless.

It was hardly a concept invented by Delerium, but this was early in the age of overprocessed vocals, which is a shame, as Jaël is a good singer, but After All, the single which preceded the album by a few weeks, does suffer initially somewhat from sounding as though it’s being sung by a robot. Having got beyond that, there’s a good song hiding here, and packaged with the traditional million-or-so remixes, this was a reasonable hit. Well, except for the fact that it came out during the sorry era when the UK record industry killed itself by limiting singles to a twenty minute duration.

Ultimately, it isn’t until Just a Dream that we really get a taste of the beautifully scenic sound that had had typified the preceding albums Karma and Poem, and it’s every bit as good as you might have hoped for.

The pop sound returns with the promo single Run for It, for which they drafted in vocalist Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer (that’s even how she was credited). It’s a good song, but somehow seems a bit insubstantial after the preceding track. Proper second single Truly follows, with none other than Nerina Pallot on vocals. Another pop song, but a particularly good one, and since they waited until 2004 to release it as a single, it managed to get a slightly more substantial CD release.

Serenity is next, one of the longest tracks on here, and perhaps the closest yet to the blueprint laid out by the preceding albums, with its operatic and multinational vocal samples and rippling synthesisers. Touched is sweet too, although honestly, after a decade and a half of listening, it does sound rather dated now.

Forever After suffers from this as well – the Turkish vocals from Sultana are nice, but the scratching in the middle section seems a bit questionable now. It leads into the adorable Fallen, starring Rani, who previously sang on Underwater, the final single from the previous album. Fallen is really sweet, although it does seem to be about someone who’s about to commit suicide in the morning by throwing themselves of a star, which isn’t so cheery.

Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer reappears for Orbit of Me, which for me is another of the weaker tracks on here, but then Julee Cruise turns up to deliver Magic. This one is a bit schizophrenic – in a way, it doesn’t really work (and no, I’m not a warlock – to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what one is) – but in a way, it does. Either way, it definitely worked a lot better for me fifteen years ago.

Eternal Odyssey is a very pleasant, if long, instrumental, which does a bit of an Enigma by sampling Samuel Barber‘s Adagio for Strings halfway through for no particularly obvious reason. Which, by the way, is also something someone had done by this stage, probably more than once.

The general theme, in case you hadn’t worked it out by now, is that with ChimeraDelerium were trying to go “pop” by borrowing ideas from lots of other people. It works, for the most part, as this is an entirely competent album, but it lacks the innovative streak that had characterised their sound in the mid-1990s.

Delerium mainstay Kristy Thirsk appears to lead the vocals on Returning, which might actually be the best track on here – it’s a sweet, almost lullaby-like track that closes the album well. But just as you start to wonder why the rest of the album couldn’t have been a bit more like this, that O Euchari sample turns up again. Chimera is a good album – it’s just not quite innovative enough to be a great album.

The only CD of Chimera currently on sale in the UK appears to be an import, but you can find that here, if you like.


Ivor Novello Awards 2018

This year’s Ivor Novello Awards happened on Thursday 31st May at Grosvenor House in London, presented by Paul Gambaccini.

Best Song Musically and Lyrically

  • Everything Everything – Can’t Do
  • Elbow – Magnificent (She Says)
  • Sampha – (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano

Winner: Elbow

Best Contemporary Song

  • CamelPhat and Elderbrook – Cola
  • Stormzy ft. Raleigh Ritchie – Don’t Cry For Me
  • Dave – Question Time

Winner: Dave

PRS for Music Most Performed Work

  • Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Human
  • Ed Sheeran – Shape of You

Winner: Ed Sheeran

Album Award

  • Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
  • Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
  • This is the Kit – Moonshine Freeze

Winner: Stormzy

Best Original Film Score

  • Benjamin Wallfisch – IT
  • Mica Levi – Jackie
  • Dario Marianelli – Paddington 2

Winner: Mica Levi

Best Television Soundtrack

  • Rob Lane – Babs
  • Dan Jones – SS-GB
  • Dan Jones – The Miniaturist

Winner: The Miniaturist

Best Original Video Game Score

  • David Garcia Diaz and Andy LaPlegua – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Joris de Man, Joe Henson and Alexis Smith – Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Igor Haefeli and Elena Tonra – Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Winner: Horizon Zero Dawn

International Achievement

Winner: Billy Ocean

Outstanding Song Collection

Winner: Cathy Dennis

PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music

Winner: Billy Bragg

PRS for Music Special International Award

Winner: Lionel Richie

Songwriter of the Year

Winner: Ed Sheeran

The Ivors Classical Music Award

Winner: Thea Musgrave

The Ivors Inspiration Award

Winner: Shane MacGowan

Join us in the autumn, when – assuming everything goes to plan – we’ll roll all the way back to the original awards ceremonies in the 1950s.