Ahead to the Past
Delorean's Vintage House Echoes
The DeLorean was the distinctive stainless-steel, gull-winged sports car produced by the DeLorean Motor Company from 1981 to 1982, when the company filed for bankruptcy and its namesake founder was charged with (and later acquitted of) trafficking cocaine. The car's popular profile peaked in 1985 with its pivotal role in Back to the Future. In the real world, it was a fleeting symbol of leisure-class cool; on-screen, it was a time machine. Delorean the band are a little bit of both.
Although the Spanish four-piece began as a fairly standard, if always dance-floor-inclined, indie-rock act, their latest album, Subiza, finds them incorporating ebullient echoes of classic early-'90s house into their woozy, sun-kissed pop sound with euphoric results. It's golden-age Ibiza as visited by time machine.
"Simple Graces" lifts off with a slowed-down, filter-smothered loop of syncopated house piano chords, drums, and a growling diva moan. It sounds, for a second, like CeCe Penniston sinking into a K-hole, before bassist/singer Ekhi Lopetegi's airy, upbeat vocals kick in. "Stay Close" begins with alternating male and female vocal samples, both caught in that charged space between ecstasy and longing before introducing a typically ascending synth chord. "Real Love" builds its melody by playing around with a pitch-shifting, childlike "ah" over, again, those classic keys.
Lopetegi's and the band's accents are appealingly hard to place (they're Basque, not Balearic). They recall Phoenix's cool Euro blasé and giddy-to-the-point-of-nonsensical repetition (if without quite that band's ultraconcise pop-songwriting chops) and Animal Collective's appealingly amateurish harmonizing (an effect aided by the considerable washes of reverb and squirmy electronic flotsam that characterize Delorean's tracks). On other songs, they sound like nothing so much as the beachy disco pop coming out of Sweden by way of groups like Studio and jj; on "Warmer Places," when he sings, over steel drum and synth squiggles, of coming "from the northern lands" in search of sun, it sounds perfectly plausible.
Throughout, they synthesize these influences—far-flung contemporaries, vintage house music—into their own distinct sound, and despite all the layered samples and electronic touches, they retain the sense of being a live band, thanks largely to Lopetegi's up-front vocal presence. Delorean do right by their nostalgia—Subiza feels easy, untroubled, and just ephemeral enough to make an ideal summer soundtrack.