Delmarva Scheme The Delmarva Scheme

A man digs a grave in a rainy, Louisiana bayou. A terrified couple sit clutching each other in a darkened, lonely New England motel. A crook speeds off into the Mexican desert, a suitcase full of cash in the backseat. A group of sweating men gather in the stockroom of a backroads speakeasy for a cockfight. This is the universe the Delmarva Scheme evokes: tragic and doomed romance, violent, sinister, shadowy personalities and Lovecraftian horror. The nine songs each form its own moody, atmospheric narrative. The album, with the ceramic cow's heart on the cover laid bare, has a latent unease and tension throughout it that makes the band difficult to pigeonhole. "We write about the poetic beauty of the damaged, the slightly disenfranchised. We're peeking through the window of tragedy," explains Delmarva drummer Keith Marchand. "Our songs are all authentic, interesting love songs with one constant narrative. They're about fidelity against the odds, the one true love." Their wistful "Pontchartrain Funeral" for example, is a collage of four different scenarios in which protagonists wind up at the bottom of a New Orleans lake. "Teen Love" is about the dangers a suburban housewife poses for the local boy's lustful desire. The music is carefully structured and written. Jason Howlett's deep-throated, almost guttural vocals glide over it as an instrument in its own right. A solid rhythm section sets the initial mood for accompanying guitar, keyboard and mournful trumpet. The album, recorded in one night off the floor at their Montreal studio/local, is not a polished, pretty album, but the Delmarva Scheme is not a polished, pretty band. "It's not the tidiest album," says bassist Gary Brazier. "There's a certain loose fragility to it that puts the music on the same foundations as the songs." (Teddy Boys Picnic)