It’s always refreshing when artists deliver something that’s fittingly different from the usual; it’s even better when it’s handled correctly. Delilah, the debut album from Anderson East, is a fitting example of this. From his voice to the distinct style that the album carries, there’s a lot about the album that feels fresh despite its roots in musical eras past, and in turn makes it a much more enjoyable package with an identity all of its own.
The album draws heavy influence from R&B’s roots, often drawing from soul and gospel music. There’s a clear retro twist to the album, too; opening with the doo-wop inspired vocal arrangement of Only You, but quickly moving into soul and R&B on Satisfy Me and Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em, the eclectic yet cohesive style makes itself apparent from the very beginning. East’s gravelly vocals sit alongside the music perfectly, breaking in all the right places to enhance the emotional edge of each song rather than gliding on lifelessly alongside the arrangements, giving an enhanced sense of life to every track.
The album has its own share of issues, though; the album gets its upbeat songs out of the way early, with six of the later seven tracks—excluding Quit You, Delilah‘s only moment to feature awkwardly paced lyricism—featuring considerably less energy. The country air of What A Woman Wants To Hear stands in contrast to the throwback tracks that surround it, and mid-tempos ballads dominate the album. This doesn’t so much kill its energy entirely, rather than remove some of the power of the punchier opening tracks.
Delilah is still a remarkable album, however. East’s conceptual vision is clear across the album, and its most apparent tracks are highly enjoyable. With odd pacing being a large but simultaneously forgivable flaw, the album’s charming image and East’s convincing performance end up coming out on top. Delilah is sure to appeal to fans of soul, roots R&B and all of the adjoining genres.