Rating: 4 out of 5
The Kiwi drum ‘n’ bass group with the incredible live performances Shapeshifter is back with their highly anticipated fifth studio album, Delta. A staple of the New Zealand music scene for more than a decade and well popular overseas to boot, Shapeshifter’s latest offering is an outcome of their evolution over time; both their past and present influences.
Named for the Twelve Mile Delta, a converging river near Queenstown in the South Island, this album merges all the best parts of their previous albums into one.
This is true genre fusion at its best; from D&B, to jazz and soul, jungle, and upbeat pop-style tracks right through to hard rock. There are even vintage 80’s synth moments that may leave you questioning whether you’re listening to a sample of The Final Countdown, not to mention some fab horns and electronic sounds. A little bit of everything tied in with the trademark vocals of Paora ‘P Digsss’ Apera.
There are 12 tracks, opening with Monarch, uplifting classic D&B at its best interspersed with jazzy soulful saxophone solos. Gravity feels like classic Shapeshifter that will keep fans of their older music happy.
In Colour has received mixed feedback from the public, most likely due to it’s pop-style radio ready sound (the intro sounds a bit Video Killed the Radio Star-esque and the lyrics do feel a little Katy Perry) but it’s so damn catchy I can’t complain.
The opening electronic arpeggios of Arcadia lead into a slower track with big dirty bass, and Shadow Boxer is atmospheric while continuing to remain smooth even when the beat drops.
A great combination of genres that still retains the musical trademarks that form quintessential Shapeshifter tracks. Still trying to determine which is going to be the key anthem off Delta (there’s always one main anthem on Shapeshifter albums!) as none particularly stand out; even after listening through the album almost non-stop since it hit the CD player. It’s looking like I’ll have to see them all performed live before that decision is made.
For more information on the album and upcoming tours, check out their official website www.shapeshifter.co.nz for more details.
Image / Universal Music