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Delilah at Concorde 2 Review


For an artist yet to release an album, Paloma Stoecker's Wikipedia page contains a lot of information. There's the saga of her name change to Delilah, to avoid confusion with another female singer-songwriter, Paloma Faith. There's the sad tale of how her songwriting was spurred by the death of her stepfather, which she alludes to tonight, before performing the piano ballad Come Home. But the most striking thing of all might be the two words the website uses to characterise the genre in which Delilah operates: it's a long time indeed since anyone had their sound described as "trip-hop".

And yet, watching her on stage, you can see why someone thought the term fitted. The most obvious comparison is Emeli Sandé, with whom Delilah has collaborated, who shares her appealingly unfussy approach to vocals and whose debut album bore the influence of early Massive Attack. But live at least, Delilah's sound seems less straightforward. Sandé based her sound on the big strings of Unfinished Sympathy and there's nothing as obviously anthemic as that here: the radio-friendly choruses of So Irate and I Can Feel You arrive blanketed in echoing, soft-focus musical settings. A muted electronic burbling runs through Insecure: it sounds like someone's listening to an old acid house record in the next room, as if there's a party going on to which the song's protagonist hasn't been invited. She performs a cover of the garage remix of Sia's Little Man by Exemen. Like a lot of pop at the moment, it features ravey synthesisers, but not the triumphal hands-in-the-air variety: instead, these are dark electronic blasts that recall the early 90s moment when hardcore turned sinister.

Equally, there are moments when you're firmly reminded that, rather than a subversive, Delilah is a pop singer pitched at the mainstream: the spindly shadow of Amy Winehouse hangs over Come Home. Still, she's going about it in intriguing way, dusting down a largely forgotten corner of the past.


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