Album Review: Big Black Delta – Big Black Delta

by Amanda Danielle

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Los Angeles native Jonathon Bates is a genius, pure and simple. The former front man for Mellowdrone, ventured off to create his solo project, Big Black Delta, and we should all be thanking our lucky stars he decided to do so. With a sound that won’t quit and an ambient up-tempo signature, BBD is surprising and instantly established. Bates’ involvement with Mellowdrone, M83, and White Sea is familiar in his records yet it’s not overpowering and doesn’t crowd his unique and undeniable sound. In 2012 Big Black Delta toured with Jane’s Addiction and have done remixes for Daft Punk, M83, and Rob Zombie just to name a few. With a growing fan base that includes Jay Z and Dave Navarro, I’m expecting Bates’ to not only blow up; I’m expecting him to explode.

His records cover a range of emotion and you find yourself feeling something different with each listen. After giving the debut self-titled album a few back to back plays, I was relieved to feel the range and depth Bates has seemingly effortlessly created. Sometimes we see the experimental electronic genre blend into itself, which can not only feel monotonous, but exhaustingly drab. Kind of what happened to Twin Shadow (sorry George, I still love you and like all your Instagram photos). This album is anything but boring or tired. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, it goes right to the top of our list for favorite Spring/Summer 2013 music. We got a taste of the direction BBD was going when the single, “Side of the Road”, hit the internet. The melodramatic electro beat under his spellbinding voice and paralyzing lyrics create the perfect storm.  Almost as if your atmosphere completely changes and you’re transported into some whimsical outer space la-la land with no plans to return. “Betamax” and “IFUCKINGLOVEYOU” rounded out the anticipation for a full studio album. 

The outcome is dreamy, fresh, vibrant, and exactly what we’ve been lacking. What I’m most intrigued by is Bates’ ability to experiment and harmonize with so many different elements. I don’t know whether to gaze at my shoes, stare at the sun, or sit in a dimly lit room with the door locked. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of these studio sessions, I’m sure it would be as enchanting as I’d imagine. How he transitions from the softer tracks like “Huggin’ & Kissin’” to the screaming vocals in “IFUCKINGLOVEYOU” is seamless. The variety is appreciated as a listener, but never feels schizophrenic. “Dreary Moon” really caught me off guard with the romantic feel, but was a great way to wind down the rest of the album.

I know I’m going to catch some flak for being too positive in my reviews recently, and I don’t care. I usually have a ton of complaints, but I’m having a hard time finding a single mediocre aspect to this album let alone a con, but don’t worry there’s always next week where I might have to completely let some artist have it. Now that I’m done shamelessly gushing, I can’t wait for you all to experience the euphoria that is Big Black Delta. I’m also planning on stalking when I can catch Jonathon perform live, it’s very evident that he puts on killer shows. Make sure you download Big Black Delta April 9th and check for tour dates since those of us who didn’t make it to SXSW are apparently missing Bates play with Best Coast, Hands, and Beach Party. 

You can follow The De Mello Theory on Facebook and Amanda Danielle on Twitter. In fact, you should do both.

Track List

Put The Gun On The Floor

Side Of The Road*

Huggin & Kissin*

Capsize

Money Rain Down

Betamax

The Zebrah*

IFUCKINGLOVEYOU

x22

Dreary Moon*

PB3

Into The Night

Love You This Summer

*writer’s top picks

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One thought on “Album Review: Big Black Delta – Big Black Delta

  1. Pingback: Video: Big Black Delta – “Side of the Road” | The De Mello Theory

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