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Audio Lessonover
Artist: Delirious
Label: Furious? Records

It is strange that what is perhaps Delirious' most accessible album to date has so far been their least successful in terms of chart placings. Perhaps they're no longer the youth group darlings they once were or perhaps they haven't pushed the publicity machine as hard as they used to, but in its first week of release Audio Lessonover barely scraped into the top 60.

It is particularly strange because this album is probably the most comfortable and assured of their four studio releases. The songs are akin
to those on King of Fools in their straightforwardness -- without the electronic experiments of Mezzamorphis or the crowd-pleasing but somehow lacking worship lyrics of Glo -- but the sound is fuller and more powerful. At its best it's got a light pop touch, loose and relaxed with strong choruses and chunky guitars.

That's not to say that this is the album the band's best live moments have hinted might be possible. It has its moments for sure, but they don't quite match up to the clarity and power that you can occasionally catch glimpses of, and after the breezy-pop of the first couple of tracks a few ("Alien" for example) become a little heavy-going and on the ballad "Angel In Disguise" Martin Smith's vocals seem to lack focus and don't serve the song well. The attempt at Thom Yorke-esque vocals on "Rollercoaster" also harm that song, which is otherwise one of the more interesting pieces musically with its interweaving of programmed beats, piano melody and synthesized woodwind sounds.

The lyrics will disappoint those hoping for a continuation of the praise and worship direction taken by Glo, but are pretty much as the band had indicated they would be.  Like the other aspects of the songs they vary in success, with "America" being unfortunately cliched. That track is thankfully not representative of the general writing, but the lyrics still don't have the spark or subtlety which might be hoped for and sadly, the designers have made the lyrics printed on the album sleeve almost unreadable which is sure to frustrate fans.

Bringing in a new producer has probably helped Delirious out, but the result is still not as focused or convincing as we might have hoped. Some of these songs still cry out with potential but none quite deliver and some are simply deadweight. I can't help but feel that the band needs more of a challenge to tighten up their act. Maybe the slow sales of this album will provide the impetus?

James Stewart  9/6/2001

James Stewart is a writer, web-designer and student based near London, UK. He co-ordinates the Greenbelt Festival's website and runs the Britlinks website, dedicated to Christian involvement in British and Irish music.



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