Kingdom Of Comfort (Delirious.org.uk)
Last modified: 04 Feb 2008
Author: Dave Wood
Date: 04 Feb 2008
Kingdom Of Comfort [55:20] Furious? Records - FURYCD13
'Kingdom of Comfort' is the 9th studio album from Delirious?, and as it turns out, the final album to feature Stew Smith on drums. With so many years under their belts, and 8 other albums already on the shelf, where do they turn for inspiration this time around? From the enigmatic opening title track to the sensational final moments of 'My Soul Sings', this album draws on every strength, every experience and every emotion the band has gathered in their history making lives. This is no stale old piece of bread. This is a fresh new loaf, just waiting for you to consume.
Kingdom Of Comfort
[3:29] - 3/5 stars
"I build myself a happy home, in my palace on my own. A castle falling in the sand, pull me out grab my hand, I just forgot where I came from"
The album opens with this title track, beginning with a simple drum machine beat and gentle plucked guitar. "Save me, save me" croons Martin as the song moves along at a steady walking pace. This continues for the first few minutes then the drums break out, the tempo rises to a jog and atmospheric squeaky scratching noises appear in the background building into a foot tapping section that suddenly comes to an abrupt end. As you would expecting from an opening track, and one that lends its name to the album title, Kingdom Of Comfort lays out the theme for the album. Lyrics like "my unhealthy lust of material things" look into our lives in a modern culture of luxury and suffering.
God Is Smiling
[4:09] - 4/5 stars
"We are one, when our breathing hearts belong and our love can be the revolution, seize your kingdom come"
Starting with a catchy repeated guitar riff and clashing drum beat this song has an instantly pleasing rhythm. The bass hiding behind the singing is superb and Stu's backing vocals add an extra layer to the mix. The chorus is perfect for a crowd sing along session; "God is smiling over us tonight". Later a guitar solo and pounding drums ring out. An all round great Delirious? classic.
Give What You Got
[3:33] - 4/5 stars
"The years have flown by, this is our time for moving on, we've got to fly, fly. We got to spread our wings and fall into the sky"
With its Oasis style guitars this song is straight from the Gallagher Brothers school of indie rock. "Over the years I tried to do what I could, I made some mistakes but the grace was so good" sings Martin. Rapid and energetic, and another Delirious? style instrumental during the final minute of the song, where guitars lead the way and Martin even seems to chuckle. Great fun, great music.
Love Will Find A Way
[4:29] - 5/5 stars
"I try to make sense of the things I've seen between the poverty and the five star dream"
It may need several listens to fully appreciate its ingenuity, but this song is a complete gem. Gentle guitars and keyboard combine with quick paced lyrics with Stu echoing in with "tears are falling" sung in the background. Late in the track all music stops apart from a simple piano and Martin's vocals before a fast drum beat returns, followed by guitars and bass building to the fabulous outro.
[4:14] - 3/5 stars
"I feel the spirits breath, free me from my net. Flying from captivity and the life I call a wreck"
This song didn't immediately grab me and I wondered if it was the one 2/5 rated song that every Delirious? album seems to have for me. But actually that does it an injustice. It might have taken me a while to realise it, but this song is extremely striking. To start with it feels like an acoustic guitar led cow boy song. Nothing spectacular, just plodding along. But it starts to come to life when Martin's voice gradually seems to grow in strength and the tune start to elevate. The final few minutes really lift off with the soaring melody drifting around beautifully.
We Give You Praise
[5:11] - 5/5 stars
"Every step that we take, with our hearts full of faith, and we're not stopping here"
We Give You Praise is a very quiet tune, almost hymnal in style. After it has been through the chorus a few times in this manner, Martin sings "Together we are strong so put your hand in mine" and the song reaches a moor uplifting, stunning, version of the chorus, simple but spine tingling, "We Give You Praise". Later it reaches an anthemic: "Glory, we sing glory, in the darkness when you shine..." with an utterly splendid finale. A candidate for church congregations to sing.
How Sweet The Name
[5:42] - 3/5 stars
"So many songs I've sung but there's none more beautiful than You. And here I've found myself so I'm happy to be lost in You. I hear you sing so sweetly a song called love."
A very simple, yet beautiful, ballad, consisting mainly of just Martin with a quiet piano accompaniment. A few gentle strings are evident in the background as Martin sings "Jesus how sweet the name". The melody and words are an absolute delight. It is not until about 4 and a half minutes into the song that the guitars and drums kick in for a final moody atmospheric push to the end.
[4:14] - 4/5 stars
"Is it any wonder that you stole this heart of mine? Is it any wonder that our worlds are now entwined?"
Another little gem of a fast paced earthly love song. The verses ask a series of questions "Is it any wonder...", followed by a bridge that admittedly feels a little awkward "Oh sweet heart, you've broken this sweet heart". Then the completely infectious chorus breaks out: "You've set my world on fire turned it inside out to be with you. So I'll be waiting here" carefully echoed with Stu's backing vocals. The rhythm in the middle is just asking for a large crowd to clap in time as guitars play out over the repeated chorus.
Break The Silence
[4:12] - 5/5 stars
"Break the silence, cross every boundary that divides us, unite us"
Another catchy guitar riff. Slightly distorted vocals. Throbbing beat. Immense Chorus. What a song! The guitars are contagious, the bass is pounding throughout and the highs and lows provide suspense and excitement. It's one of those songs that buzzes around your head all day. The only complaint is that it's just not long enough!
Stare The Monster Down
[3:27] - 4/5 stars
"Eighteen weeks of chemo, 6 doses of hell, a family bucket of pills a day to make my father well. Stare the monster down."
Pure rock n' roll but with hard hitting lyrics. Martin opens with the line "One thing I have pondered is how the might fall" and before long it becomes a song based on personal family experience. The 'monster' in questions turns out to be cancer as is apparent in the line about chemo. But the superb chorus hints at a better place: "Is there a place in your arms of love, strong enough, will you carry us?", sung in falsetto style. Soon after is a section of Stu's distorted vocals, almost whispered and a little hard to hear, before the chorus comes back. A busy sounding song with much to ponder.
All God's Children
[5:51] - 4/5 stars
"Light will come to those who wait, from the shadow souls awake, these are the days when the nations will bow at the coming King"
A more hushed, almost ballad style of song. The vocals dictate the tune with the first half of the song meandering along nicely, finally reaching the chorus where a warmth starts to seep out of the song. Mid-way through the chorus is backed with a choir, giving it yet more depth, leading to a crescendo of sound. The ending is a very beautifully repeated chorus.
My Soul Sings
[6:49] - 5/5 stars
"We're standing still in a moment of eternity, where worlds collide and I feel the breathe of heaven over me. My Soul Sings."
From start to end this track is an absolute stunner. The opening guitar riff cries out with a gentle quality that is impossible not to love. Martin's hushed almost uttered words pick out perfect pitch, soaring in the chorus with a wonderful vocal echo from Stu. The chorus could be a song in itself, yet somehow it contains only the words "My Soul Sings, How I love you". Bordering on a ballad, but with a nod to something stronger, this song is clearly the album highlight for me. A gentle crowd choir joins Martin for the chorus and later is left to sing the song alone as the outro gives way to squeaks and scratches and fades out the album. At nearly 7 minutes in length there is plenty of time to enjoy and appreciate the incredible music, but it certainly never seems long.
This album has so many incredible lyrics, the song writing quality has definitely been turned up a notch and demonstrates an ever increasing maturity in the band's abilities. Stu's brilliance with the guitar is often evident in Delirious? albums, but his creativity and inventiveness on this album continues to amaze. Blended with flawless vocals, sublime bass and beats and ever present skillful keyboards, Delirious? certainly know how to create an album to play on their strengths. But I suspect the lyrics will be the thing that Kingdom Of Comfort is most noted for. Clearly exploring themes the band have witnessed first hand through their global travels, the words are challenging, probing and inspired. This isn't a return to anything from their musical back catalogue, or simply a Mission Bell MarkII. It's a continuation and the start of something new, all at the same time. Prepare yourself for the Comfort, and the Discomfort, of where Delirious? want to take you.