Deltron 3030 - Event II

There’s a pleasing sense of ambition on this long overdue comeback.

Label: Caroline International

Rating:

‘Event II’ might be a long-awaited second album from the cult hip-hop trio, but for a group who are based 3000 years in the future, a 13-year gap between records is a mere drop in the ocean. Here, Deltron 3030 - that’s rapper Del Tha Funky Homosapien, turntablist Kid Koala and virtuoso producer Dan The Automator - return to carry on the Delton story while addressing a number of contemporary events that have shaped the last tumultuous decade.

‘Event II’ is an album built on customary questing ambition and a strong sense of symphonic grandeur. It’s the sound of Deltron making a statement, both about the futuristic fantasy world in which they inhabit and the harsh realities of 21st century life on Earth. It’s immediately satisfying to hear Del’s pitch perfect rhymes accompanying the clever, nuanced sci-fi flavoured production by Dan on stirring opening track, ‘The Return’. Before we even get to that, though, there’s a scene setting narrative introduction by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt that sees the scene for the album and its conceptual story. Levitt’s voice provides a sense of gravitas as he outlines economic collapses, society eroding and a general sense of anarchy. The actor proclaims Deltron as a new salvation, “Back from the great beyond”.

It’d be easy for the songs here to fall into overwrought polemic when dealing with such big themes. Fortunately, Deltron retain the ability to keep things fresh and exciting. There is also a degree of satirical humour permeating the number of short interludes including the use of comedian David Cross and actress Amber Tamblyn on two pieces entitled ‘Lawnchair Quarterback’ and even chef David Chang on the quaintly charming ‘The Future Of Food’.

With a proliferation of guest stars, the best turns are provided by the biggest personalities. Zack De La Rocha provides the perfect accompaniment to the dynamic, rock-inflected sound of ‘Melding Of The Minds’. It’s a huge thrill to hear his bracing voice rippling with intensity. Elsewhere, Damon Albarn’s melancholy sigh on ’What Is This Loneliness?’ is sweet and ineffably affecting.

Not everything works on an album that is perhaps slightly too long, however, there is a pleasing sense of ambition to Dan, The Automator’s symphonic productions, tinged with an old school flavour. There aren’t too many others like Deltron and ‘Event II’ is a statement that stands out as a successful and long overdue comeback.