Delirious? - The Mission Bell

They've notched up seven top forty singles, and their live shows have seen them play every major stadium you can think of – Wembley Stadium, Arena, Millennium Stadium, Milton Keynes Bowl, even Glastonbury. Worldwide sales of their albums are in the millions. But chances are you will never have heard of Delirious?.

Why? Well, Delirious? are unashamedly a Christian band, whose songs are lyrically gospel and biblical. Musically though, they pack a punch comparable to bands like U2 and Coldplay. In fact, it is U2 that they most sound like, the guitarist Stuart Garrard sounding on occasion a little too much time like The Edge for comfort. Delirious? also have probably one of the countries finest rock drummers, Stewart Smith, who muscular drums fill out much of their music. Yet they are massively underrated. Their last album, "World Service", failed to perform in the mainstream, despite featuring some of the strongest songs of their career. Indeed, that albums closer, "Every Little Thing", gives anything U2 have ever written a run for its money in pure, emotional brilliance.

“The Mission Bell”, album number eight, is their most explicit “Christian” album since 1999’s “Glo”, considered by most to be their finest hour to date. On earlier Delirious albums, the songs could be interpreted as “love” songs between boy and girl, not necessarily between man and God. Here though is a collection of 12 songs which can only be read one way.

These are songs of worship, singer Martin Smith singing passionately of his feelings for God and his desire to share his beliefs with others. Songs such as “Miracle Maker”, “Now is the Time” and “Our God Reigns” are practically hymns with loud guitars. What stops this sounding appalling is Martin Smith - whose unique voice sings with a conviction that is rarely heard in other vocalists. When he sings, you can really feel that he "means" it, that he believes in the words he is singing. “Paint the Town Red” is a good example of this, a two minute piece of punk-pop, spiky and full of energy.

Other highlights include "Take Off My Shoes", which sees Delirious? doing what they do best. Over a slow burning groove, they play as a band to create a chilling, beautiful piece of music, Martin Smith's vocal shining out amid Tim Jupp's keyboards. It is a stunning track, leading into album closer, "I'll See You", a haunting and emotional song.

Delirious? are unlikely to gather any fans outside of the Christian music scene with this album, which is a shame, but inevitable. For a non-Christian, it is their least accessible album. Those wishing to try them would be better to listen to early albums. For those who think the bands beliefs might put them off, "Mezzamorphis" or "Audiolessonover" are good places to start. For a real flavour of the band though, "Glo" is their best work, an inspirational and wholly original piece of work that gives bands such as The Flaming Lips a run for their money for sheer audacity.

In Q magazine, the review of "The Mission Bell" ends with the following statement - "Still, as they must surely reflect in darker moments, without God they could be massive". From listening to the songs on this album, I genuinely believe that they never think this for a second.

Overall

8

out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 06:43:18

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