words: Katryn Macko
Delicate is Lincoln Halloran of Hello Shark’s third full length release, and it beautifully encompasses the fragility of loving someone and receiving distorted affection in return. Released on Ordinal Records (Owen Ashworth of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and Advance Base’s record label), Delicate shows his evolution as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist while maintaining the unique observations of ordinary objects and occurrences that made his previous albums special. He incorporates light electronic instrumentation for the first time, which make the collection of songs feel fleshed out while remaining subdued.
The album opens with “Alligator”, in which Halloran transforms the phrase “See you later, alligator” into a hazy tale of an improbable romance. “Danny” starts with acoustic guitars and layered vocals between Halloran and a familiar voice, Katie Bennett of Free Cake For Every Creature. The calm delivery of their singing paired with a soft synth line is a match made in heaven, and it plays like a somber lullaby as they sing, “You always say that love is to fear what you feel / we’ll never come back again”. “Jackson Browne” contemplates the notion of wanting to complete someone and keep them safe even while you yourself are not whole (“Baby I’m delicate / I don’t wanna quit”). “Big Game” is a stand out track, describing the monotony of sports games in comparison to how a lover “smell(s) like a bonfire even after it rains”.
The whole release has thin guitar tones and loose drum hits that carry Halloran’s vulnerable voice. “Wish We Talked Still” starts off like a lot of Hello Shark’s earlier material, and describes feelings of discontentment and displacement as Halloran and Bennett nearly whisper their wanderlust in your ear. “Drake Night” is something that no one saw coming, a dancy Hello Shark song, but it might be his best track to date. After Halloran sings “I saw you the other night / at the dance club / it was Drake night / and even in the dark / you were lit up by the moonlight”, Emily Sprague of Florist comes in on guest vocals for the chorus. The versatility within this album from start is finish makes it one of the year’s most notable releases, and one that will surely tug at your heartstrings.