The Phantom Tollbooth

See the Star
Artist: delirious?
Label: Furious? Records
Length: disc 1 - 3/12.48; disc 2 - 2/9.10

The wait is over and the pilgrimage of delirious? fans to UK record stores has begun as once again this bunch of chunky-pop-rockers try and break their way into the upper echelons on the singles charts.

This single release comes on two discs. The first contains the lead track, "See the Star," another new track, "Follow," and a remix of "See the Star." The second disc contains "See the Star," a remix of "Obsession," and video footage on a CD-ROM portion of the disc.

"See the Star" lets us see that delirious? has changed. A big, maybe even stadium rock sound, complete with strings and plenty of distorted guitar shows a move away from the Joshua Tree era U2 influences to something more contemporary. The vocals seem a little low in the mix, apart from on the chorus, making the lyrics slightly hard to make out. But the chorus lyrics suggest that fans's fears that the band might sell out are unfounded:

"Follow" is more of a ballad, with a percussive sound occasionally giving way to distorted guitar and plenty of Stuart Garrard's arpeggios. Along with the previous track, it suggests that the new album will have a larger and better produced sound than King of Fools. I can't say I'm too taken with the remix of "See the Star"--the band describe it as a kind of UNKLE vibe, but it seems too disjointed to work well. The "Obsession (Odsession mix)" on disc two is better, taking the atmosphere the track has always possessed live and adding a relaxed beat to it. Not exactly ground breaking stuff, but good to chill out to.

The CD-ROM portion is designed for Windows systems only, so those outside the "Wintel" fold will have to pass over it for now, and as a result there is little to recommend the purchase of both of these discs. But if you can't wait to hear new delirious? material, it may well be worth looking for one of these discs.

James Stewart (4/11/99)