From the cacophony of instruments thumping in unison and Elliot Hammond’s familiar bombastic vocals Bright as the Sun heralds the return of The Delta Riggs. With its rhythmic and groove incited spiel the opening track of the Gold Coast/ Melbourne four piece’s fourth album, Modern Pressure, exudes a swagger and is reminiscent of The Delta Riggs of old.
While the initial air of Modern Pressure is a reminder of old, it does not hang its hat on the past. Instead, it explores a new phase of the Riggs while paying occasional homage to the sound that made them a household name. It is a candid album, originating from personal experience, openness and sentimentality in a modern world.
With a focus on conclusiveness and commencement of new chapters, Don’t You Frown is an upbeat and melodic consideration of a negative time in Hammond’s life. Fake That, the first single off the album, flows on perfectly with its idyllic rock vibe whereas Friendly Fire drops back a gear and settles into a smooth groove with Alex Markwell’s grungy guitar solo surprisingly complementing the song’s laid back tone.
Currently generating heavy radio rotation, Reality, is a classic pop-rock hit with hints of 80’s undertones. In contrast, title track Modern Pressure takes a divergent path to anything you may have heard from the Riggs previously. Despite being a ballad about the common theme of heartbreak, it has The Delta Riggs stamp all over it and is a refreshing inclusion.
The second half of the album opens with Push $ Pull. It is a true highlight as it demonstrates the capacity of Hammond’s vocal range and brings the rock and swagger back with a vengeance. This vibe lingers into the second single, Out of Place, a song focused on the need for real human communication and connection in a modern, digital era.
The album continues to traverse through a merry-go-round of tone and ambience with Tom’s Song, a homage to the late, great Tom Petty, again bringing the mood down to a serene calmness. But only for a minute or four as Settle Down navigates into pop territory while articulating the feelings associated with leaving a broken relationship. Sunshine Dancing, on the other hand, combines rapid, systematic drumbeats and to the point lyrics while introducing a hint of psychedelia to the baseline that is sure to get you up and dancing.
Fast As The Day, a reprise of Bright As The Sun brings the album back full circle to that familiar Riggs’ sound of old. It is a place that is always an absolute delight to come home to and wraps up Modern Pressure in a concise package.
Modern Pressure is an earnest and emotional contemplation of contemporary experience. It takes listeners on a cross-genre roller coaster of sound while maintaining the melodic joy The Delta Riggs are known for.
Album Review By Anita Kertes