Del Cielo – Us vs. Them

Del Cielo
Us vs. Them

Del Cielo is a female rock trio on Lovitt Records, a label largely known for its tightly knit band roster. So it’s not surprising that the artwork design is credited to Keely Davis of longtime Lovitt act Engine Down. Del Cielo’s Us vs. Them has plenty of charged riff rock, with flashy guitar and a solid rhythm section. Unfortunately, this full-length effort constantly fails in the field of vocals, where Andrea Lisi’s feminine voice doesn’t quite complement the brawn of the music.

As previously mentioned, the singing on Us vs. Them is the biggest issue. There are truly rocking songs like “Three More” and “Second Chance to Think” that become tainted by the singing. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of most female vocalists, but ones who rock posses empowered and soaring voices (Maura Davis of Denali). Lisi’s vocals are quivering and girly, ultimately sounding unstable and weak. The vocals might fit better alongside adult contemporary music, but not gritty indie rock. Vocals are very loud in the mix, and guitar amplification is reduced to a friendly volume, but this production effort painfully exposes how unfitting the vocals are. Lisi’s voice is reminiscent of something like an off-key Sarah McLachlan, so naturally the more you listen to her, the less you want to.

Now, don’t get the completely wrong impression; this isn’t entirely a bad listen. The music is often upbeat, sometimes sounding like a peppier version of Nirvana. The band’s musicianship itself is tight – just listen to the guitar leads at the end of “Scream.” Furthermore, consider the whole gamut of clean chord runs, fiery distorted leads, and heavy, palm-muted rhythms that are covered on “Too Scared.” Lisi is a very fluent guitar player, and as the group’s only six-string performer, she does a damn fine job.

If the band had a more tolerable singer, I could enjoy Del Cielo’s interesting brand of indie rock. However, the music doesn’t make up enough for the distracting vocals. If you’re an extremely limited girl-rock enthusiast like myself, avoid the hangups of Us vs. Them and look to Denali’s The Instinct instead.