Easily the most successful, most prolific, and longest running of Front Line Assembly’s side projects, Delerium started life as an experimental dark ambient act, but eventually evolved into today’s danceable pop-adjacent juggernaut blending world music and trance electronica with an everchanging array of guest vocalists. For its sixteenth studio release, Delerium has put on a showcase of its smart pop sensibilities while still showing its roots and staying true to the original vision.
The soft piano intro and soothing, subtly echoed vocals of Mimi Page are sure to bring to mind several recent pop acts, but as “Falling Back to You” builds and the electronics become more pronounced, we get a lesson in Delerium’s ability to elevate more mainstream sounds. “In the Deep” featuring KANGA is one of the distinct structural and performance highlights of the album, but the saccharine sweet tone of the track juxtaposed against its truly dark romanticization of suicide may leave some feeling a bit uneasy, a bit disturbed, or feeling like it is in poor taste. One of the more interesting instrumental tracks, “Esque” feels directly inspired by FLA’s work on the Airmech game soundtrack with its smooth loop-able groove, but it still maintains a distinct Delerium flavor. Similarly, “Sun Storm” and “Amdebdo” give the listener a taste of vintage Semantic Spaces Delerium with their use of world music styled samples giving the track an indistinctly exotic flavor.
With this pairing of sultry female vocalists and simultaneously relaxing and danceable musicianship, much of the album feels engineered for pop success. This isn’t intended as a slight towards Delerium, but it can come as a shocking realization that huge pop acts like Aurora, Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish really aren’t too far removed from Delerium in tone and style. Some may use this as evidence to say that Delerium has gotten more poppy as the years have gone on, but really, the mainstream has instead finally caught up to acts like Delerium… but Delerium still does it better.