Delta 5 iTunes Tracks

Delta 5

A quintessentially English three-girl/two-guy post-punk indie combo, DELTA 5 probably hit their peak too early in their brief 4-year span, although their effervescent `Mind Your Own Business’ single, has went down in the annals of time as a bona fide classic. Propelled by a twin-bass funk groove behind a defiant female voice (from guitarist Julz), the record was repetitive, insidious and highly addictive, bringing an enthusiastic response from Radio One DJ, John Peel, and drawing comparisons with post-punk experimentalists and fellow Leeds politico-punk combo, GANG OF FOUR.
Formed in September 1978 by the aforesaid Julz (born Julie Sale), plus fretless bassist Ros (aka Rosalind Allen; from The MEKONS) and second bassist Bethan Peters, the addition of guitarist Alan Riggs (A.R. of Dead Beats) and future FLOWERS and FIRE ENGINES sticksman Simon Best, kick-started the quintet on a more serious note. Almost immediately, a fresh drummer was found in Kelv/Kelvin Knight (ex-Jerks, of Dead Beats); their scatty Rock Against Racism politicised femme-punk debuting for Rough Trade Records in October 1979 a la `Mind Your Own Business’ (b/w `Now That You’ve Gone’).
One-that-got-away from all but Peely aficionados, RT’s Geoff Travis was convinced of the group’s hard-hitting angst-y agenda, issuing two 45s over the course of the next year: the feisty and critically-acclaimed single `You’ (b/w `Anticipation’) and `Try’ (twinned with `Colour’). Not yet thought ready to release an album’s worth of material (a couple of Radio One/Peel sessions in February and September 1980 revealed Rough Trade’s loss), DELTA 5 took off for a US tour before securing a major label deal with Charisma subsidiary, PRE.
Boasting a polished-up sound with additional brass and keyboards (from Steve Bishop and the Sidwell brothers, Steve and John), several reviewers were sceptical, giving the debut album, SEE THE WHIRL (1981) {*6}, the proverbial thumbs down. Saddled with accusations of GANG OF FOUR aspirations (despite said group taking a dance stance), the non-appearance of the Rough Trade-contracted platters was its albatross. Attendant single `Shadow’ was its axis, a deep and disjointed dirge that underlined the group’s early promise. Ditto, opener `Innocenti’, the razor-sharp `Final Scene’ and `Triangle’.
After the album’s release, Sale and Riggs left DELTA 5 to their own devices. The remaining members duly recruited respective newcomers Jacqui Callis and BOOTS FOR DANCING’s Graham High for the lacklustre summer ‘82 single, `Powerlines’ (b/w `The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter’). Having struggled to make any headway in the increasingly air-brushed alternative/indie scene and, with only one album to their name, the quintet split; their record label also going under.
Their influence was always in inverse proportion to their recorded output; while SHONEN KNIFE, PIGFACE, DUM DUM GIRLS and CHICKS ON SPEED have covered their tracks. In the aftermath, Jacqui formed The DELTONES; Bethan joined FUN BOY THREE on their `Waiting’ set of 1983. Sadly, Kelvin Knight passed to the other side on 2 December 2015, taken from us by liver and kidney failure, at the age of 56.
© MC Strong 1999-2003/GRD series // rev-up MCS May2016

Share this Project

Leave a Comment