Deliluh Push Their Art Punk Beyond Borders on 'Fault Lines'

BY Kyle KohnerPublished Jun 14, 2022

Since last hearing from Toronto punks Deliluh, things have changed — drastically. After taking the city's scene to "strange and compelling new places" on 2019's Beneath the Floors, these sonic settings would unexpectedly manifest in a move across the Atlantic. Now, the group's potent despondency has found refuge on new record Fault Lines.
Once upon a time, Deliluh's restless art-punk reflected the mentality of young artists with a desire to discover and grow, revelling in the slight optimism this unsteady world presented. Fault Lines encounters a different band — one that has seen and experienced things. They sound weathered, but nevertheless dedicated to capturing the malaise of a generation that has also undergone radical change itself. This sentiment is not only conveyed in the abstract stories unraveling from vocalist-guitarist Kyle Knapp's mind, but through the persisting gloom perpetuated by the duo's newly-cultivated instrumental alchemy.
Opening track "Amulet" — released as the transitionary piece when the band slimmed down from four members to two after moving to Europe — exposes the inner workings of a fed up, antagonistic antihero stoking the flames of fear. For all the poetic menace of the lyrics, the music is even more terrifying, as motorik blips of synth bass nudge listeners toward a dead end which never appears, yet still spurs anxiety.
The spiralling "Amulet'' still faintly recalls the outfit's neurotic milieu of old. However, the synth-heavy textures and instrumental choices clearly come from a new, untapped place of heavy-laden feelings, twisting and turning deep within a burdened human heart. No matter how eerie and foreboding "Amulet'' comes across, it's a dilapidated bridge to Deliluh's newly realized post-apocalyptic art rock that frames the rest of Fault Lines.
This apocalypse further transpires with the measured chaos of "Body and Soul," a track that sounds like an impending rapture dawning upon the listener. But there's an issue: a rapture offers hope. It's as if Deliluh are actively playing a sick trick on us. There is no hope to be found within Fault Lines, and in all of its ballooning enormity, the clavichord repetitions and booming piano of "Body And Soul'' are a mere facade. It crescendos with the expectancy that something better lies beyond its enveloping dread, and yet, all the track presents is a bleak and unabashed hellhole.
As the record gradually materializes into the fiery pit it aspires to be, those engulfed by its beckoning flames eventually enter a desolate void formed by "Memorial" and "Mirror of Hope." In his bewitching near-whisper, Knapp narrates the descent of those who dare traverse the band's conceived, ever-deteriorating world, haunted by shadowy synths and longing horns. Uttering on "Memorial," "Surrender my heart to fire ... open the latch to vastness ... deliver me out to sea," Knapp's words don't coax further fear. Instead, he extends odd comfort in giving in to the depravity of all that surrounds.
By the end of the record, it is evident the grim world of Fault Lines is much more tangible than a place in the wearied hearts of a couple of transplants. This is a manifested place of shifting expectations, reality, and whatever else comes by way of significant life changes. Yes, the decision to uproot their lives and move to an entirely different continent was of Deliluh's own volition. But the boldness of this move has been ultimately beneficial, hindsight being 20/20.
While Fault Lines sees the transitory Deliluh maintain their hankering for neurotic storytelling and bleak narration, they've tapped into an arcane musical world of enveloping darkness predestined for a band that was bound to take their scene by storm before global pandemonium ensued.
(Tin Angel)

Latest Coverage