DELS is an alternative hip-hop artist whose flow and motivation is based on contradictions: he goes in for tragicomedy with darkly funny verses about his own experiences and those of the people who fill his life. This is his second record, 'Petals Have Fallen', produced by none other than Kwes, who gives the record its swaying, often raw tones.
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I had the choice of reviewing Homeboy Sandman (US) or Dels (UK) and I’ve opted for the Brit lad. The difference in the mindset of the two nations is immediately exemplified in the vocal delivery. Whereas Homeboy Sandman comes across as a wacky, jelly bean addicted Eminem style goof, Dels sounds like he’s grown up on a rainy council estate staring endlessly at a slab of concrete.
Opener ‘Limbo’ is a relentlessly downbeat opener with doom laden chords and a vocal delivery so downcast it sounds like he can’t even be bothered to open his mouth all the way. Shades of Dean Blunt/Hype Williams. He picks up the flow on ‘Fall Apart’ scatting over some dark fuzzy synths. He slurs through ‘House of Commons’ admitting he’s as drunk as hell; the music veering this way and that. He reminds me of Roots Manuva to a degree but has the skunk-scented delivery of King Krule in evidence.
Production is by Warp artist Kwes, the best of which can be found on ‘Pulls’ with a little of the early Fly-Lo production sweeping around a sweet female vocal. Definitely without doubt Ipswich’s best rapper, Dels has made an album of scuzzy, gritty hip-hop that mirrors the monochrome bleakness that is life in the UK in 2014. If he can write a few more choruses like ‘Lost For Words’ he might be someone to hang your hat on.
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- Petals Have Fallen by DELS
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