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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Fusebox (Cutting Edge to Mezzmorphis as 2CD sets)
Length: varies : 2-CD sets
The best part of Delirious?' history is here in three releases, beginning with the Cutting Edge discs, released when they were just a local worship band in Sussex, appealing to the region's teenagers, but showing significant promise from the start. It takes them through the days when hitting the national charts was a novelty to when they reached their creative peak.
The Cutting Edge One & Two EPs, which record their beginnings, only contain a few tracks that might still find their way into the band's set, such as “Lord You Have my Heart” and “I Could Sing of your Love Forever.” While the recording standard is somewhat basic, it is high for a début from that time. Bass runs and keyboard fills stand out as part of the whole picture the band was painting.
The leap made on the accompanying disc is dramatic. Cutting Edge Three & Fore takes them straight to national level, full of assured tracks and a bubbly confidence in their music. The promise shown on the earlier collections has matured creatively into the magnificent alt-worship of “Obsession,” strident anthems like “I'm Not ashamed,” and it includes “Find Me on the River” - a piece that is fully-formed, both musically and emotionally.
One bonus of going back to these Andy Piercey -produced EPs is finding several lesser known tracks that never made the compilations, live or tribute releases.
While these early discs already had a remarkable sense of space, unhurried enough to allow worshippers time to inhabit the songs, ambient spaces became a clear feature of the live albums, of which Live and in the Can was the first. U2's influence can be heard in Stu Garrad's guitar work here. The songs included largely come from later Cutting Edge material and King of Fools, plus “Come Like You Promised.”
King of Fools itself was a breakthrough album, giving the band top twenty hits for a single (“Deeper”) and the album, which made no.13 in the British chart. The disc's passion, experience and – in places – sheer brawn make it a safe bet for lists of top twenty Christian rock albums. Not only is it packed full of great songs, of which many are anthems, but the quiet tracks show how they have more than energy to offer.
The self-produced Mezzamorphis took the same style and added the bleeps and guitar tones that Radiohead were just making popular at the time (“It's OK”), a Thom Yorke vocal style (“Metamorphis”) and bring it all together on the lovely minor key success “Beautiful Son”. Is it the perfect alt-worship song? It was another great batch of tracks, too. “Heaven” would become a long-term live staple, “Gravity“ has a distinct pop edge, while “Blindfold” sets up a powerful gear change towards the end that takes off live. Nearly as good as its predecessor in the song department, but with a heady contemporary edge, moody ambience and a glorious production polish, they have never released a studio album since that had the same combination of quality tunes, identity and creative power (though hopes are high for April's King of Comfort).
It's not just about the sound, either. The brilliantly titled album, blending the concepts of changing, growing and being caught between heaven and earth shows how Delirious? could take ideas and phrase them freshly, giving them a potency that many bands never achieve. “Gravity” shows that approach to temptation:
Sitting watching feeding her jealous mouth
The future looks back to learn her lessons
Memories fade while experience beckons
I'm caught in the middle which way should I go
Gravity's pulling me, but heaven is calling me and
My head's spinning the world's twisted