Del Bel Polish Combatant's Hall, Toronto ON, February 14

Del Bel Polish Combatant's Hall, Toronto ON, February 14
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Sometimes throwing a cover into your set is a fun way for a band to acknowledge its influences. But when it backfires, a cover can really expose the relative lack of strength in a band's own material.

That was the unfortunate case for del bel last night (February 14). Capping their set with a soaring version of Al Green's "So in Love with You," an apt choice for Valentine's Day, the song's breezy pace and infectious melody stood in stark contrast to the band's usual creeping vibes; think Timber Timbre fronted by Portishead's Beth Gibbons.

In small doses, the sound is incredibly affecting - this is a collection of incredibly talented musicians. But while del bel have carved out a unique sound for themselves, they've yet to fully come into their own as songwriters, a problem the Al Green cover only magnified.

A barrage of technical problems that besieged bass and synth player Tyler Belluz didn't help, but there was a sameness to all of their songs that ensured that part way through their set the crowd was already looking ahead to what was next.