London artist DELANILA’s debut record, ‘Overloaded,’ aims to be the perfect lockdown album, exploring the human relationship with technology through her gritty, alt-rock sound.
DELANILA, lead by composer and artist Danielle Eva Schwob, is a dark, experimental rock band. The music is grungy and deep, tiptoeing on being almost emo or punk rock. Tired of the toxicity of the Internet, Schwob took a much-needed break to create the album and used themes of isolation and jealousy to create emotive lyrics - long before the pandemic and enforced lockdown existed.
Schwob’s piercing vocals and pop-punk sound are introduced in the album’s opener, ‘The Philosopher.’ The upbeat poppy intro is something out of one of Avril Lavigne’s older works, but the track’s similarities stop there. “He’s always talking, nothing to say / Always wasting my time,” she sings, setting the tone for the track. The tune explores her complex relationship with social media-induced jealousy and the over-opinioned trolls on the Internet. Her annoyance and frustration are evident in her dark, moody vocals, which she carries throughout the album.
In ‘I Get Bored,’ Schwob is about to burst, her simmering anger finally coming to roaring a boil. “I get bored / I’m on fire like a quiet explosion,” sings, hinting at her frustration in isolation without the Internet to captivate her attention. The tune bubbles and fizzes, just waiting to explode.
Schwob bridges together her career as a composer with three interludes, breaking up the mercurial tracks with a cinematic orchestra of a string quartet. The interludes are beautiful but don’t quite fit in with the rest of the album and takes away from the rest of the tracks.
‘Turning on the TV,’ introduces an eerier side to Schwob’s vocals in the haunting tune. She plays with the idea of how people routinely turn on the TV every night, but she fights against this, wanting to break free from being glued to the screen. The guitar shredding against her gritty lyrics is effective, adding the much-needed depth to the song.
The synth pop track ‘Time Slips Away’ is a standout from the album, showing off Schwob’s powerhouse vocals as she shares her experiences of losing time to the endless scrolling on the Internet. The song is a good reminder to put down the phone every once in a while, as we’re “watching the world as it disintegrates.” There are some pop-punk undertones, elevating the track and adding distinctive layers to the sound.
Elements of jazz are infused into ‘It’s Been A While Since I’ve Been Outside,’ which is the most relatable song off the record. Schwob’s background as a composer is evident, as she brings the end of the album to a crescendo, her voice layering in stunning, piercing harmonies. “Hold on while I go,” she repeats in the building chorus, “while I go back to sleep.” Synths and drums fade out and all that’s left is a single violin, closing out the album.
DELANILA’s debut is a good attempt, but it falls flat. The tracks and lyrics are repetitive, and the overarching theme being tired of the Internet has become a bit of a cliche at this point. Although the album touches on important ideas, it needed to explore more ideas and experiment with depth to for a punchier impact. While the meaningful lyrics and sharp vocals are alluring, overall, it's not enough to want to play this record on repeat.
Words: Caroline Edwards
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