The Phantom Tollbooth
Purepop? - the delirious? Journey So Far
A book by Craig Borlase
Furious? Press 1998

When a band is quiet for a while, rumors about their future and direction generally increase in volume. Over 1998, delirious? was quiet in the UK as they spent the majority of their time working in the USA or on the forthcoming album, Mezzamorphosis. Possibly because they have been away for awhile and because the time seemed right for a retrospective look at the band, Furious? Records press officer Craig Borlase put pen to paper to bring the fans the first official delirious? book.

Divided into three sections (PopPeople, PopMusic, and PopWork), the writing has a light touch to it. The writer has an intimate knowledge of his subject, a key benefit of
having an industry insider as author. The prose contains many excerpts from interviews, both with the band and with their wives and accomplices. Not in strictly chronological order, there are features on all the band members, the history of the cutting-edge band, and the story of forays into the mainstream music industry.

Whenever any "Christian band" attempts to make a name for themselves in the mainstream music industry, their motivations are submitted to close scrutiny, and conclusions often vary. While this is not a major issue for the book, the members of delirious? have taken the opportunity to point out that while the market they are aiming for may have changed, their faith has not. This is directly addressed in the interview with "the girls," as the delirious? wives are affectionately known, when Kristen (Jon Thatcher's wife) says:

"I find it hard ... when I've been to so many gigs and heard so many people cheer when they hear about the next single or mainstream release, only to hear that people are unhappy and critical as soon as the guys do something that looks vaguely secular. They're not selling out. They're really great guys and they're trying really hard to follow what God says."

Whether you're a fan or not, the book reveals some interesting and amusing anecdotes." The story of Martin Smith returning U2's The Joshua Tree to his local record store complaining that "it wasn't up to much" amused this writer considering how strongly that album seems to have influenced delirious's own work. It is also interesting to finally know why the band re-released the "Deeper" single even though most of the fans already owned it (a top-ranking music industry executive asked them to, but then pulled out once it was released). But in general this book will be of greatest interest to the fans, those who want to know more about the band, their inspiration, and their faith.

The presentation is unmistakeably delirious?. With Stewart Smith's (delirious?'s drummer) distinctive logos and many full-page photos, it is a good souvenir of the past few years. Some may have wanted a more critical glance than this offers; others may wonder at the apparent presumptuousness of releasing a book so early in their career. But the demand is there and it is an enjoyable, light read.

By James Stewart (1/9/99)