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Album Of The Week: Robert DeLong “In The Cards”

Robert DeLong burst onto the world stage in 2013 with his international hit Global Concepts from debut album “Just Movement”. After years of playing festivals and dive bars all over the world the producer and multi-instrumentalist is back with his sophomore album “In The Cards”.

From the starting hook of the opening, and title track, In The Cards you can tell this isn’t the same DeLong we knew in 2013. Dulled wind chimes rise into a synth progression sounding like something from the depths of a Berlin nightclub. A building atmosphere led by electronic handclaps signal a drop is coming, and by god it drops! DeLong throws you head first down into a deep wobbling pool of glorious techno mixed dubstep. It’s the musical personification of the moments before and after dropping a tab. The following verse basically builds to another drop, however this one features some weird shimmering synth, suggesting the trip’s turned bad. But it resolves into a booming final chorus perfectly crafted for night clubbers and festival mosh pits.

Following the epic opening track is the lead single Long Way Down. Backed by a super catchy fuzz-bass line, DeLong describes a fall from grace he didn’t try to halt. There’s a great balance of delicate piano melodies in the verse to the booming bass-heavy chorus. It’s a simple song but it’s got some serious guts, and the manipulated backing vocals in the chorus have a weird seductive quality.

Third up is Jealousy, which sounds like a trippy mixture of Adam Levine and a B-side from The Wombats’ “Glitterbug”. Don’t Wait Up has a very 80’s techno feel, with a synth tone very similar to Groove Armada’s Paper Romance. Lyrically it’s personal reflection for DeLong who sings, “Falling from the ceiling, I keep crawling on the floor, can’t avoid the feeling this has happened all before”. The song features some kickass sweeping percussion fills and DeLong’s signature military sounding snare drum in the final chorus.

The opening verse in Possessed again takes you back to the depths of Berlin with a pulsating bass synth hook. DeLong’s vocal layering creates a beautiful cascading effect, adding an amazing depth to the song. The chorus is a little too light to get you raving but it does feature some great synth parts.

Sellin’ U Somethin is the mid album pick-me-up. It’s a high tempo banger with a super catchy synth-vocal hook you’ll be humming for hours. Featuring the fuzz-bass tone from Long Way Down and some snarky lyrics towards unoriginal musicians, it’s high-octane stuff that’ll leave you breathless from singing the hook or sweaty from bustin’ a move.

Born To Break is DeLong’s duet with producer Amanda Lucille Warner, better known as MNDR. Like most duets it’s a ballad about a love fading. Lyrically it follows the album’s theme of fate, with the breakup always “in the cards” of the relationship.

Acid Rain is a happy mess of pulsating heavy synth parts underneath an absorbing story of a love slipping through DeLong’s fingers. By far the best vocal delivery on any song from the album, he passionately delivers a chorus highlighting his vocal range. The rhythmic change up in the song’s bridge is a welcome surprise but unfortunately ends sooner than it should.

Future’s Right Here builds from an atmospheric intro and verse to an incredibly bouncy chorus, capped off nicely with a distorted guitar solo. Closing out the album are tunes Pass Out, which heavily sports influences from UK outfit Rudimental, and the soaring ballad That’s What We Call Love.

Overall the heavy synth and techno beats of “In The Cards” is a natural progression for the Los Angeles producer. It’s deeper, harder, and has a heavier presence than his debut album “Just Movement”, and will take his one-man-band live shows to a whole new level. The album’s theme of fate and destiny doesn’t really hit the mark lyrically. But with songs incorporating techno, house, drum & bass, electro, trip-hop, rock, and a little soul, “In The Cards” is sure to make you fucking dance.


 “In The Cards is out Friday 18th September

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