Debut album from the British singer-songwriter, which includes a number of songwriting collaborations with the likes of Sia, Emeli Sandé, and Guy Chambers. From the Roots Up is described by Delilah as a dark, soulful, melodic pop album with a range of influences from the contemporary music scene, such as dub-step and drum and bass.
Perhaps best known as guest vocalist on the Chase & Status single Time, the initial assumption might be that Delilah’s debut album unleashes her as a full-blown dubstep diva. But it’s made clear, and pretty quickly at that, that From the Roots Up is an entirely different beast. Which leaves us with the question: who, in that case, is Delilah?
The obvious answer comes in the form of an inimitable voice. Regardless of production or instrumentation, it’s by far and away the star of From the Roots Up. Some of the backwards loops and off-kilter beats – in particular, on opener Never Be Another – could potentially feel messy or clunky, but it’s all held together by a distinctive vocal.
Nothing on From the Roots Up is as immediate as Go’s breathy interpolation of Ain’t Nobody. Such practices are a common theme throughout the album, snatching verses here and there from a range of classics. In spite of co-writers as diverse as Andy Burrows (formerly Razorlight, sometime We Are Scientists drummer) and Plan B, and samples that wink out at you from an ocean of peculiar ideas, there’s a definite theme: From the Roots Up is one long, atmospheric backdrop, the perfect setting for a smoky, bluesy tone.
The album houses an overall trippy, chilled setting, but simultaneously, with a voice so charismatic and quietly concentrated, it’s hard not to actively pay attention. It could so easily have been music to get casually lost in, but thanks to Delilah herself, background music this ain’t.
So, the question of who Delilah is gets answered with candid, atypical gusto. Where to place her is another matter entirely; but, in many ways, that’s the beauty of From the Roots Up.
There are parallels with Sia Furler – perhaps not sonically, but more in the sense that Delilah’s sound, so offhand yet audacious, might just be too out of the ordinary for the public at large. But, as Sia has recently proven, the cream will eventually rise to the top. Here’s hoping the lead times for Delilah’s reign aren’t too protracted.
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