Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
The long awaited 'Mezzamorphis' finally hits the racks and the second guessing, discussing of tracks heard live and pestering Mike Rimmer to see if he's heard the album yet can finally stop! By the time you read this, you too will have had a chance to hear the album, and what a blast it is! The labour of love of 1998 pays off, as the band take it to yet another level and prove that they have yet to reach their creative peak. 'Mezzamorphis' highlights a band in motion, changing and moving towards where they want to be. They've not made it yet but this is a powerful step forward. Some may be disappointed that there's no "Revival Town" or "History Maker" flag-waving type songs with obvious messages here, but instead you can take delight in a pile of excellent reflective, soul searching, honest powerful tunes. Honesty and vulnerability pour out and two broad themes emerge. The first is the tension of the Christian's life being open to the pull of both Heaven and earth, and the second is the band's corporate and individual desire to keep on the road and not compromise. These themes weave their way through the lyrical journey that begins with the vulnerability of "I'm on the mezzanine floor", and ends with the repeated worshipful phrase "isn't he beautful?" The band's intention of taking a CS Lewis approach - dealing with spiritual themes but avoiding the language that alienates the ordinary person from investigating - has been excellently executed so that these become songs that get better with every listen, as you unpeel layer upon layer of lyrics. The guys have always managed to write songs that tug at the heart, and these are the same. Melancholy, emotional and totally on target "It's Ok" has me close to tears as I bask in its beauty. It offers comfort to the struggling and is destined to become a lighter- waving live favourite with the crowd. The addition of the Sally Army brass section only adds to the poignancy. Another highlight is Stu G's "Metamorphis" which is built around a familiar Delirious? descending riff but soon strips down to some soul bearing as Martin sings "Can I Be Somebody?" and explores the tensions of trying to find identity anywhere else except in God. Musically the band have created an edgier sound that will stand the scrutiny of the mainstream, and fans who have caught them live will already be familiar with the driving "Heaven" and the punchy "Bliss" with its almost electronica influences, and its uncompromising declaration "I'm not backing down". "Gravity" is a raucous feast of powerpop with one of those twisty catchy choruses that won't evacuate your brain once it's there! "Beautiful Sun" is simply a delicate intimate love song to Jesus which leads easily into the jangly celebratory "Love Falls Down". I was actually in the studio to witness part of the recording of the album's epic song, "Blindfold". It continues where "Summer Of Love" left off, exploring the nature of inexplicable pain on our human experience. Brooding musically, this mesmeric masterpiece concludes that even in the middle of the pain, worship is a valid response as it gives way to the repeated chorus of "glory in the highest". Totally breathtaking. The album's coda "Kiss Your Feet" brings the album to a conclusion on a worshipful note with its question "isn't he beautiful?" Given the redemption and beauty of God that Delirious? have packaged in these songs as a gift for a fallen world, the answer has to be an unwavering "yes"! On "Gravity" Martin sings "These are the days that we'll look back upon when we're old" and certainly "Mezzamorphis' takes the band into a new phase gleaming with possibilities and wherever God takes them, it's going to be quite a ride. In 'Mezzamorphis' they have an album that opens new doors and while this album is an absolute classic, I can't wait for what happens next!
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