366 Songs 068: The Rock

There’s possibly no song that sounds more like the summer to me than this one.

I can’t really explain why; there’s something about the sampled guitar riff, looping around and yet feeling so remarkably open and spacious despite that (I “see” music, if that doesn’t sound ridiculous; I listen to things and imagine them as images and visual ideas as much as I can deal with them as music, or as feelings, and I’ve been that way for years. The riff in this song is thin, and starts with two large loops, before falling into tighter formation as it reaches the point it starts to repeat) that just makes me think of warm weather and bright days and late, light nights, with the vocals sounding suitably lazy and discombobulated that I can imagine them being sung by someone half-asleep, happily out of it as the night draws to a close and people are going home in t-shirts and grins.

Delakota are one of my weird touchstone bands, a half-remembered (if that) act that are somehow at the center of my personal musical memory. They existed for an album and a handful of singles, before going on to bigger and better things (Unless I’m misremembering, most if not all went on to do something or other with the Gorillaz in some way, with the singer of the band, Cass Browne, writing a lot of the backstory/merchandise). They weren’t the most original band, or the most enjoyable, but there was an inspiring variety to their influences that I remember really appreciating at the time, a sense that they didn’t want to sound like a Britpop band but instead wanted to try their hands at everything else, instead (There are a couple of great remix b-sides, one by David Holmes, one by Royal Trux, that made other tracks of their album sound spectacular). This song, “The Rock,” was their second single, and there was something in the tension between the guitar loop and the piano in it that made me realize I wanted to hear more from them. That, and the happy confused melancholy of the lyrics (“But nothing came/It’s alright, I won’t be leaving”).

Even now, more than a decade after this song appeared – Hell, more than a decade after the band fell apart – there’s something comforting in this song for me, in its happy acceptance of failure and messiness.