The Delines- Imperial Album Review

The Delines are a self described “retro country” group formed with members from The Decemberists, Richmond Fontaine, and Minus 5. Those groups were rock based so the knowledge that The Delines are country is intriguing.

  1. Cheer Up Charley- This song, instrumentally, isn’t interesting. While the production is sleek the guitar lines remain the same the entire time. There needed to be something to break up the monotony. The vocals are nice, they are reserved and fit well with the instrumental tone. The content is about a man who is sad about losing his girl, which isn’t groundbreaking but I wasn’t expecting it to be.
  2. The Imperial- This song has the same tempo as Cheer Up Charley. I hope going forward that we get something a little more fast paced just to see whether the quality is the same. This song is about a woman who has been surrounded by people addicted to drugs. I like that the content is subtle. While it is easy to pick up on the themes, it’s not glaringly obvious. The vocals are good, but they are a bit monotone so I was hoping there would be a change in her tone but there wasn’t.
  3. Where Are You Sonny?- The instrumentals on this song are really Jazzy. The trumpet is the most prominent with the slow guitar add to this aesthetic. The lyrics are about a woman who is leaving her man because he is always getting caught up doing bad things. The chorus repeating “three days” isn’t exactly clear as to what that means which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think if the chorus is confusing it at least needs to be catchy which this is not. I have noticed a theme in these songs in that sad and/or bad men are the main focus. Let’s see if that theme is consistent.
  4. Let’s Be Us Again- This song again is trumpet heavy. The tempo remains slow which I hope changes pretty soon. While I think that this slowness sounds nice I would like to see something different. The lyrics have shifted a little. This time it is about a woman wanting her and her partner to go back to what they used to be. It isn’t focused on a particular person’s problem or traits it’s pretty general. The repetitiveness of the title gets really old.
  5. Roll Back My Life- The beginning of the song is focused on the vocals with a subtle piano in the background which is really pretty. There is a guitar in the background that I almost didn’t notice, but it adds to the vibe of the song which is passive and reflective. There aren’t many lyrics because the instrumentals tell the story. I didn’t think I would enjoy a song like this, but I did.
  6. Eddie & Polly- This song is more lively than the others with the background vocals adding a new dimension to their music. The song is once again about relationship,except this time it is about a young couple who don’t know how to become adults. They party all the time and he becomes abusive and she cheats. I really like the repeating lines “The party never stops and the pressure starts.”
  7. Holly the Hustle- This song tells a fantastic story about a girl who grew up with an abusive father and how that affected her as an adult. The trumpet and guitar add to the feeling of this being a story someone tells their grandkids. So far this is my favorite song from this album.
  8. That Old Haunted Place- The first guitar riff immediately give off a Western vibe which I doubt will remain, but I noticed it. Okay, the song does keep the Western guitar just a little bit. The song doesn’t get to a full swell but in the chorus it gets as loud as I think this band can get. Is that shade? Probably. But anyway, the lyrics are great because they show what it is like for someone to become famous and have all of these people from their past come forward to try to claim some of their success. I enjoyed this song.
  9. He Don’t Burn for Me- This song is sad which is evident by the drawn out trumpet and drums. The lyrics are about a woman who notices that her man isn’t in love with her anymore. The vocals match the message of the song in that I can feel a sense of sadness within Amy’s voice. For this song it is good, but because that has been the case for the whole album I can’t be too impressed.
  10. Waiting on the Blue- This song has a similar format as Roll Back my Life. The instrumentals are minimal along with the lyrics. The main difference between the two songs is that I have no clue what the lyrics to this song are supposed to mean. They appear to be deep and meaningful I just can’t figure it out.

Overall, I think that this album was fairly consistent in its messaging. The themes, instrumentals, and vocals were similar throughout every song. I honestly don’t know how to feel about that. While I did want a more upbeat song, it probably would have felt out of place with the rest of the songs. I liked their sound as a whole. It isn’t something that I would go out of my way to listen to, but I can appreciate it for what it is. I give this album a  

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