Reviewed by Susan Lloyd
Kingdom of Comfort by Delirious
"Sonically fresh and lyrically challenging, the album features thirteen tracks that leave the listener wanting more…"
Listening to Kingdom of Comfort is somewhat of a bittersweet experience, because the latest offering from the UK band Delirious? was released shortly before the band announced that 2009 would be the year of its last tour. That makes KOC the last album of new material that Delirious? will ever put together. For fans of the enduring UK based band, the announcement must come as a shock, but they may be comforted by listening to what is arguably the band’s best album of its career. Sonically fresh and lyrically challenging, the album features thirteen tracks that leave the listener wanting more… and knowing that’s all Delirious? has left to offer makes one want to savor this CD.
The title track “Kingdom of Comfort” is a hard hitting honest look at the creatures of comfort we have all become. The plea to be saved from “The kingdom of comfort where I am King” is one we should all cry out, and the introspective view point of the song speaks volumes about the transparency of song writers Smith, Garrard, and Thatcher. Musically, the song has an interesting texture and marries acoustic instrumentation with experimental percussive sounds in a way that somehow manages to keep the lyrics pushed to the forefront. Lyrically, the three collaborating band members who wrote all the tracks on KOC seem to have laid bare their souls as they dig through their own struggles with materialism.
“God is Smiling” relies on a distorted guitar hook followed by an equally distorted bass line to lay the foundation for the more upbeat and hope laden song. Delirious? brings to mind the styling’s of U2 and the insanely popular Coldplay on this particular track, and haunting synth work serves to transport the listener to a solid European rock feel. The track is followed by the raucous “Give What You’ve Got”. Smith’s vocals seem to mirror Queen’s Freddy Mercury on this particular track, and the band manages to make the most of an earlier 80’s rock style that just gets inside your head and makes quite a statement.
Unique, far from manufactured,
and passionate, songs like “Love will
Find a Way”, “Eagle Rider”, and “Wonder” give
full validity to every reviewer who has given kudos to Delirious for the
sheer creativity of its songs. These songs in particular showcase intelligent
lyrics as well as experimental instrumental layering that is seldom heard
in more commercially successful music. Thankfully, even though the band was
accused on several occasions of “selling out” in order to secure
a higher mainstream profile, they truly did not sell out. These songs in
particular explore content that isn’t so comfortable for the listener
to confront, and the boldness of lines like:
“I stare in the eyes of this flesh and bone. I’m a tourist here so tomorrow I go home.
I try to make sense of the things I’ve seen between the poverty and the five star dream”
are concrete evidence that Delirious? is not as interested in selling a song but as in serving a Savior.
Another standout on the track listing is “All God’s Children”. The rolling synth and stark use of guitar work gives the song a landscape feel that lends itself well to the worshipful attitude of the song. However, as stunning as “All God’s Children” is, the real jewel on this CD is “How Sweet the Name”. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a song that treats the name of Jesus with such awe and reverence and at the same time makes the person of Jesus seem so real and close at hand. The song begins by going in a more traditional praise chorus direction and tends to stay there throughout both verses and the initial chorus. But when Smith’s voice jumps an octave on a choral repeat, the song begins to take a more dramatic turn that explodes into a soaring compilation of well woven sound. The climax of the piece showcases all that Delirious is capable of on a musical level, but somehow it manages to usher the listener into a holy moment where he is forced to reckon with his own desperate need for a Savior.
There are so many well crafted, well engineered songs on Delirious?’ last CD, and there is no question in my mind that “How Sweet the Name” is the piece de resistance. I’m left to wonder if Delirious has not stopped their work together long before they should have because of the richness of the music they’ve put together for this last session in the studio. But, if Delirious? is going to call it quits, it’s a good thing to be able to go out on a high note leaving fans with a CD that justifies the years they’ve followed this impressive, cerebral, and always faithful band. If you don’t own any music by Delirious, Kingdom of Comfort is the one Delirious? CD that belongs in your collection. It is a fine example of how music can be transcendent, timeless, and cerebral without becoming obtuse and misunderstood. God bless the members of Delirious? as they go their separate ways. We are grateful for the years this band has spent creating music that brings us all closer to the One who loves us best.
Susan Lloyd is a professional photographer in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in shooting concerts. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked as a worship leader and as a youth minister. She is passionate about all types of music and enjoys encouraging and supporting bands who seek to glorify God. She also loves movies, animals, traveling, and making new friends. She and her husband have three kids and have been married for nearly 17 years. More info about Susan's photography can be found at www.susanlloydphotography.com or www.susieq3c.wordpress.com