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delusion squared: delusion squared

You would have to call the debut from France's delusion squared a very ambitious effort. This progressive rock band combines the multi instrumental artists Steve Francis and Emmanuel de Saint Meen with female vocalist Lorraine Young in this sci-fi concept disc that is one of the better releases I have heard this year. Musically this is an album that most prog rock fans will revel in. The weak link if you want to call it that is the thin, wispy vocals of Miss Young. She has a unique quality that oozes sweetness and innocence but her limited range and similar type of delivery for a good portion of the disc gets a little worn out by the end.

She does manage to give some life to songs like "Copyrighted Genes" which for some reason reminds me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the haunting album closer "A Creation Myth" but on heavier songs like "The Betrayal" I think she needs to get a little grit in her delivery. She does hold her own on the more metal tune "Rebirth" but this is the exception to the rule.

Don't get me wrong, Lorraine is a fine vocalist but she has a tone that reminds me of the late 60's hippie types such as Melanie or even the falsetto singing of Minnie Ripperton. It is not what I would call a progressive metal voice and for this sci-fi concept disc I think she would have been better in smaller doses when the music demands a little more emphasis.

The music on this disc is outstanding. The pair of musicians that concocted this album has amazing talent and they use it to perfection on this album. The instrumental track "By The Lake (Mourning)" is a beautiful song which highlights the keyboards and shows the ability within this band. It is not the only spot that makes me want to hear these guys though. They have created a futuristic world musically upon which they tell their tale and do so in a most dynamic way. Stirring acoustic work along with searing electric moments and superb keyboards all blend together to make this a very enjoyable album.

Other than the problems that I already mentioned, this is a very good album. I have listened to it quite a few times now and each time it gets better and better. There is a bright future for them and I will be anxious to see if they take it to the next level with their sophomore release.

Track listing:

1. The Very Day
2. In My Time Of Dying
3. Copyrighted Genes
4. The Betrayal
5. Sentenced
6. By The Lake (Mourning)
7. By The Lake (Seeding)
8. Rebirth
9. What We Will Be
10. The Departure
11. A Creation Myth

Added: November 9th 2010
Reviewer: Scott Ward
Related Link: Band's Myspace Page
Hits: 2195
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

delusion squared: delusion squared
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-11-09 21:27:38
My Score:

Delusion Squared are a French trio consisting of Lorraine Young (lead vocals, guitars), Steven Francis (guitars, keyboards, drums) and Emmanuel de Saint Meen (bass, keyboards). The band's self titled debut album is chalk full of modern progressive rock with a strong leaning towards alternative rock, pop and metal . The songs are well written and although the band will not blow you away with Dream Theater-like technical displays of virtuosity, these musicians know how to play and their songwriting is downright infectious.

The band's catchy guitar riffs, often venturing into metal territory, can be found all over the album and go nicely with the atmospheric keyboards and haunting piano motifs. Although the keyboards are prominent, the band prefers a more subtle approach adding textures and layers to the music and in that sense is similar to bands like Porcupine Tree. Other bands came to mind while listening, most notably The Pineapple Thief and the German band Sylvan. Like Delusion Squared, these bands prefer nuance over brashness, letting the musical atmospheres settle in before captivating the listener. From the very first listen Delusion Squared had me at full attention.

To go along with the music is a science fiction based theme that is actually quite original, which is no small feat considering the genre has been well used to say the least. The story is about a young girl who grew up in an arcology, after the great wars had nearly destroyed the Earth. The few people who live in the outside world are in danger from a hostile and polluted environment. The arcologies are run by huge corporations and the people are subjected to virtual reality simulations run by artificial intelligences. Let's just say the girl is not happy with this way of life and prefers a more 'real' existence. The liner notes will give you a more in depth synopsis which is well worth reading.

The album begins with ""The Very Day", a song that incorporates catchy electric riffs and tasty acoustic guitar. The band's modern take on progressive music had me wanting to hear more right from the start. The acoustic intro to "In My Time Of Dying" reminded me of" Hey You" from Floyd's The Wall and demonstrates the band's somewhat understated and somber approach to their craft. The synths and acoustic guitar build nicely as the music enters the metal realm, which it occasionally does throughout the album. Young's vocals bear a strong resemblance to Suzanne Vega of "Luka" fame and while they may not be everyone's cup of tea I like her innocent vocal delivery. The poppy prog of "Copyrighted Genes" features snappy keyboard lines and fuzzy guitar riffs while "The Betrayal" has a kind of electronic alternative vibe with heavier guitar parts intertwined with atmospheric synth lines.

All the songs are first rate especially the album ending "A Creation Myth" with its moody keyboards and stellar vocal arrangement, an excellent way to finish what is a very good album.

Delusion Squared has released an impressive debut album that should have large crossover appeal to fans of melodic alternative rock and metal. Let us hope this threesome remains intact as I have a feeling their next one will be even better.

» Reader Comments:

delusion squared: delusion squared
Posted by Anthony on 2010-10-26 18:03:11
My Score:

Although I must admit that with the first listen I did have to get used to Lorraine's vocals (sometimes she does have an odd pronunciation, fair is fair), she now has become one of my favourite vocalists, second only to Heather Findlay. She may not have a 'powerful' voice like some other female metal vocalist, but her tender voice makes you believe in the sweetness and beauty of the "Mother-of-all-people". I've read that Steven and Emmanuel had someone like Sharon den Adel in mind before they met Lorraine, and I'm so happy that Sharon is not singing on this album at all, because then it wouldn't have been as good as it is now. Now, thanks to Lorraine's lovely voice and the great skills of Steven and Emmanuel, this album is my favourite album of the year.

delusion squared: delusion squared
Posted by Mick Knapton on 2010-10-25 04:27:07
My Score:

This is a fine album. Scott Ward criticises Lorraine Young's voice slightly but I think her vocals work brilliantly with the music.

delusion squared: delusion squared
Posted by Brian Dade on 2010-10-25 04:09:20
My Score:

Another good review.
My only point of disagreement is regarding Lorraine's vocals. I love her voice, and imho, her vocals add great depth to the album.
I've listened to the album numerous times and, like you, enjoy it more each time. It's hard for me to imagine any other vocalist performing these songs.

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