Monday, May 30, 2011

Old Song Review: Grapefruit - Dear Delilah

The UK rock outfit Grapefruit are one of the countless groups that arose and quickly disappeared in the shadow of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but unlike most bands that existed simply to capitalize on Beatlemania, Grapefruit had the audacity to push rock into new and exciting places. Combining the innovative sound of the Stones, the harmonies of the Beach Boys and the melodic chops of the Beatles, Grapefruit released only two albums (around in '68 and Deep Water in '69) before going their separate ways, but their influence can be heard on many of the psych-rock records that followed.

Their highest-charting single, Dear Delilah reached #21 on the UK charts in 1968, and is the best distillation of their psychedelic sound. An organ intro and swelling strings sound a bit out of place at first, before cymbal clatter distorts the harmony, warping everything around it and dragging the organ underwater to induce a sort of auditory vertigo. Despite the swirling and churning orchestration, Alexander Young's voice provides a steady mast for the song to sail forward. The Beatles influences are hard to ignore, from the vocal cadence to the Ringo-esque yelp at 2:07, but I can't help but think that The Beatles would attempt to 'clean-up' this mess of a song and unraveled it all in the process. Perhaps their record sales suffered for it, but someone has to push the margins.

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