Blog Criticsby David Bowling
So what does your family do in its spare time? If you are the Delonas family you spend it in your home studio recording your debut CD, Self Animation.
The heart and soul of the band are vocalist/guitarist Molly and vocalist/bassist Kara who are high school students and two thirds of a set of triplets. Father Nick is a writer/guitarist who has played in several bands. Even older sister Suzanne contributes some flute playing on one of the tracks.
Self Animation is an eclectic combination of songs as the hard rock sensibilities of the father meet the modern pop/rock leanings of his daughters. And while it may lack overall consistency and focus, the album is interesting and its ten tracks, eight of which were written or co-written by members of the group, are well crafted.
Kicking off with a cover of the Cheetah Girls and Play’s “Cinderella” the album begins with a short A cappella introduction, but just as you settle into a comfort zone it goes in a hard-rock direction. The female vocal provides a startling, excellent counterpoint to the hard-rock, instrumental background.
“What Never Comes” and “The Way” were both co-written by Nick Delonas and are light and hard rock respectively. The former introduces the almost angelic harmonies that Molly and Kara can create and which are at the center of their sound. The latter is above all a vehicle for Dad to demonstrate his guitar chops.
“Sad Star,” written by the girls, is an electronic song with a modern feel befitting their age, its lyrics telling the story of an unhappy pop star. “All Alone,” written by Kara Delonas, is a simple acoustic, melodic tale featuring some more nice harmonies.
“Swamp Funk” is described as progressive funk but I place it closer to an improvisational jazz sound. The track is mostly an instrumental with only two vocal interludes which pick up the structure of the song and connect the parts. While it differs from the rest of the material, the song offers a sound they may want to revisit in the future as here it is unique and well done.
Self Animation is a strong debut album. The group is a work in progress and no doubt will settle into more of a focused musical direction in the future. Consider it family time well spent.