Delta / The Tyde: London Toynbee Hall Arts cafe

Californian psychedelicists The Tyde blow Delta off the stage...

Two rules of pop music: pastiche is a no-no and hero worship always results in worthy but dull platitudes. The Tyde unashamedly ape Felt's mid-'80s output, but cunningly escape retribution by approaching their Felt tribute with the same alchemy that made the original sound so great.

They just know that the tuneful sorrow of early '70s Dylan and the acute melodic regret of Orange Juice coupled with the wild mercury sound of a double organ attack and chiming guitars is the sum of classic pop. This Los Angeles band even have the cheek to namecheck Felt's 'Space Blues' in their first song, 'All My Bastard Children', and get away with it in the warmth of their golden glow.

Delta, conversely, are too inflexible and glum to either transcend their influences or stand on an equal footing with them. So much so that for large parts of tonight's set they are no more than a bar blues version of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fronted by the notoriously belligerent brothers that are Patrick and James Roberts, they too often come across like Oasis with two Paul Gallaghers.

Despite all the coarse blues rocking, Delta would dearly love to be Buffalo Springfield. Sadly, they mostly lack the grace and melodic subtleties to fulfil their dreams. Yes, there are a handful of great songs in their set, but the good:bad ratio is a disappointing 40:60 at best. If Delta can ever replicate the delicate charm and spacious wonder of last year's album on stage, then they'd eventually promote themselves from the pub rock league to serious contenders.

Ben Clancy

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