The Delines are a Portland-based band formed in 2012 by former members of The Decemberists, The Damnation TX, Richmond Fontaine and Minus 5. They are named after one of the members had a dream of performing on stage, and The Delines was written across the kick drum. Their style is country music with a soulful twist set to a background of retro-sounding instruments. The Delines’ debut album, Colfax, was recently released, and the group is now on an international tour in support of it.
The opener, “Calling In,” starts off sounding a little Pink Floyd-like with the instrumentation, but eventually morphs into an emotional song of heartbreak and the hardship of living in a dying town. “Colfax Avenue” is slightly happier, but not by much. It chronicles the long, aimless drive of the wife of a worn-out veteran who needs to leave her family for a little while in order to find peace. The black sheep of the LP, “Sandman’s Coming,” is a piano-driven lullaby that would not be out of place at the beginning of a Disney movie. Later on in the album is “Flight 31,” a soft, barely there track about wishing to be with one’s significant other, but being hindered by distance. The closing song, “82nd Street,” continues the theme of melancholy, but adds a catchy drum beat to the mix. It ends the record on a wistful note: the idea that better days will come.
Colfax is a very melancholic release, even bordering on heartbreaking at times. However, it is perfect for those days when nothing goes right and you just need a metaphorical hug from an artist going through the same things.