Dreams of Delvaux’s album Shade Mystique is a slice of chilled out, sun-drenched, dream-like synth pop

Guest review by Captain’s Bar events manager, Say Something Music label owner and promoter Scott Evans

Dreams of Delvaux – the electronic duo of Jon Aldersea and Rachel Poole – have released their first full album of dreamy synth pop, titled Shade Mystique. The intriguing duo, who emerged onto the Stoke music scene post-covid, intrigued us with their 2022 EP Air Without Gravity alongside visually stunning content, which bleeds into their newest record.

The sound of Dreams Of Delvaux is firmly from the 80s synth pop, the likes of Yazoo, Visage and Bronski Beat with a dash of disco sprinkled on top. That’s not to say that the album is not fresh sounding. The combination of pulsating bass, 808 drums and sax alongside Poole’s dreamy vocals gives us a chilled out soundscape of music, with songs like the fabulous Golden Mystery could go down so well on summer nights in Ibiza. 

A year ago, a full album would have been really against the grain of how to release music – but that trend is changing all of a sudden, with the likes of Taylor Swift and Billie Eillish not releasing singles, choosing to head straight down the full album release path, so kudos to Dreams Of Delvaux for sticking to a vision. And before we break down the tracks I must point out the beautiful cover artwork of the album, again showing how imagery is just as important as the music to the duo.

The opening tracks of Emerald Green and Tell Me You Want Me are great pop songs and are two of the more aforementioned 80s sounding songs. Electric Ice is the first of the summery dance anthems, which is where I think the duo really hit the spot, while Cascade Casino has such a great synth bass line – you can’t help but be instantly hooked especially with the instrumental sax break later in the track. 

Porcelain Star for me is one of the outstanding tracks of the album; a gentle ballad with captivating vocal melodies – lovely stuff. Other favourites are Golden Mystery and Make The Earth Move which join Electric Ice in being great dance tracks. These songs have the vibes of the Sophie Ellis Bextor songs that delighted many an Ibiza crowd. A blissful summer evening in The Backyard, Hanley, and these would go down a storm. 

Shade Mystique is a well composed and produced album of chilled out, sun-drenched, dream-like synth pop. The duo of Poole and Aldersea clearly work well together, and it will be really interesting to see what the pair do next. Clearly a live gig would be great, but I suspect they will want more of a show than a gig to blend their music and creative visuals. 

The Leopheard founder, Bethan Shufflebotham, added: “What is it about the sweet sound of a saxophone that is synonymous with summer? Dreams of Delvaux’s Shade Mystique album, with its dreamy vocal textures and disco beats, was destined to be played in festival tents with a cold fruity drink in hand where you can really get lost in the music. Boasting surrealist sensibilities, this is a record that really takes you on a sonic and visual journey. Rachel and Jon are clearly incredibly talented multi-instrumentalists and passionate artists and I really look forward to catching them on stage soon.”

Released March 1, listen to Shade Mystique by Dreams of Delvaux here:

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