Nick Delffs, Redesign (Mama Bird Recording Co.)
[MINUS THE FLARE] For his first LP under his own name, ex-Shaky Hands singer-guitarist Nick Delffs offers a subdued effort of gorgeously opaque songs suggesting the maturation of a one-time scene kid into an astute songwriter. The driving energy created on opener "Running Moon" builds a slow-burning momentum that sustains the whole way through the following nine tracks. It's equal parts Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen—more specifically, the same side of Springsteen that Arcade Fire borrowed from so heavily on their sophomore effort. The spacious reverb also recalls Bob Dylan's work with Daniel Lanois. Aside from impeccable reference points, Delffs makes a remarkable case for self-sufficiency in the studio. With the exception of some female backup vocals from Ali Clarys and his Tiburones bandmate, Luz Elena Mendoza, Delffs is the sole player on his record. While the ubiquity of home-recording gear has made it possible for everyone to self-appoint themselves as multi-instrumentalists, very few can do more than one or two things masterfully enough to come off as anything more than dilettantes with inflated egos. Delffs avoids this pitfall with an inventively minimalistic palette that serves as the unfussy thread that ties these 10 tracks together.
SEE IT: Nick Delffs plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave.,with Haley Heynderickx and Clarke and the Himselfs, on Friday, July 21. 8 pm. $10. 21+.