Delorean, Balearic beat merchants from Spain’s northern Basque region, are returning to the realm of LPs with their new full-length effort, Apar, the first record since 2010′s Subiza. Currently based in the coastal cultural hub of Barcelona, the Iberian foursome have built a career on superb sun-frenched alt. pop in the vein of Crystal Fighters or El Guincho, inciting frivolity and blissed-out entranced dancing across the globe – they may seem like the perfect OST to lollygagging en la playa, but after a few listens, you’ll feel like leaping into the night full of sangria with an itch to cut shapes.
Apar, their fourth effort, has been described by frontman and lead vocalist Ekhi Lopetegi as a “big production album.” There’s a noticeable lurch away from chopped’n’screwed vox sampling, and instead of jittery electro steps, everything’s been sanded smooth. As a result, it glistens like a pop album should, shimmering like a blue lagoon under midday sun. There’s a softer focus on beats, pace and rhythm (though their percussive elements aren’t exactly stripped away), and in their place, sticky melodies and huge ’80s pastel-shaded harmonies. It’s an album for Bacchanalian revelry or festivals – there’s a similar tone to Is Tropical‘s recent effort, I’m Leaving.
Lead single ‘Spirit’ burbles into life with a sped-up beat reminiscent of Massive Attack‘s ‘Teardrop’, before glimmering synths (akin to what ‘Baba O’Riley’ might have had if released by a squad of Atlanteans) intrude. It’s fresh and invigorating, like a lime smoothie, with enormous choral pads and muted funk guitars – despite the early morning feel they cultivate here, there’s a lot of energy. It’s woozy, bright and has more style than Milan. ‘Unhold’, featuring guest vocals from Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, is similarly hypnagogic. The vocals are twisted, one of the few occasions they are on Apar, but it’s still easy to adore Polachek’s velvet croon. Skittish beats and thumping bass guitar carouse in tandem, so there’s no lullaby strand wriggling throughout, but it’s definitely an after party tune rather than a dancefloor hit.
Throughout the record, there’s much more pulse on offer: the vaguely Oriental shanty ‘Dominion’, sounding like a cross between The Sims‘ construction mode music and an MJ B-Side, wields a stunning chorus. ‘Your Face’ is replete with aquatic axes and smooth, flirty pop; ‘Walk High’ is the kind of tropical ’80s new wave that Theme Park and Duran Duran wish they’d written. ‘Inspire’ is a gliding, eyes-wide-open bout of glassy synthpop. ‘You Know It’s Right’ is smothered in delirious hedonism and hot hooks. Apar is predominantly concerned with ensuring you get a powerful case of the boogies, but there are moments, like ‘Spirit’ and ‘Unhold’, that are slicker and have a stronger desire to relax you like an Indian head massage.
Delorean have always impressed us when they’ve spewed infectious, distinctly Spanish, pop. Subiza remains a tour de force, and while Apar doesn’t quite pack the same KO blow, it’s still a mighty thwack in the chops. It’s the complete package for a summery excursion to the Spanish Riviera – there are tracks to make you wiggle like a worm at a sockhop, there are songs that are perfect hangover accompaniments. There’s music for night time, music for dawn, music for dusk and music for breezy afternoons. It’s a sonic holiday. Book your tickets now to Costa del Delorean.