On its second EP, Pittsburgh’s LoFi Delphi balances elaborate arrangements with strong hooks | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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On its second EP, Pittsburgh’s LoFi Delphi balances elaborate arrangements with strong hooks

“We have parts that are more complex. But we try really hard to write good pop songs.”

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The members of LoFi Delphi seem bemused when asked about the origin of their name. The moniker combines a production style with a reference to a Greek city known in ancient times for a female oracle.

But they don’t conform to the legions of bands that make four-track home recordings lacking sonic fidelity. Quite the opposite. And the second half of their name sometimes gets mispronounced by people thinking about a reference to the City of Brotherly Love. “Everybody asks about that and we always say, ‘It was the old guitar player’s [idea],’” says bassist Andrew Belsick.

No matter how you say its name, the local four-piece takes pride in a style that combines elaborate arrangements, strong vocals and blatant hooks, most prominently displayed on Always the Quiet Ones, its second EP, which is being released by the local First Flight Records imprint.

The group came together in 2014 when Belsick and his wife, keyboardist/vocalist Becki Gallagher, moved back to their hometown of Pittsburgh, hoping to start a band together. Both grew up on a steady diet of radio classics from the ’50s and ’60s. While other styles would inspire them too, the golden hits had a profound impact on their writing. “We’re unapologetically pop songwriters,” Belsick says. “We have parts that are more complex. But we try really hard to write good pop songs: hooks and earworm stuff.”

Within months of forming, LoFi Delphi released the EP Victor, to help get its name around town. While the hooks and Gallagher’s strong vocals were already in place, the group upped the ante on Always the Quiet Ones. Songs like “Madness” and “Twelve” feature guitarist Andrew MacDonald adding melodies between the verses that don’t act like solos so much as lines that accentuate the vocals. In the title track, Gallagher and MacDonald provide layers of vocal harmonies that add some dramatic impact. “That’s our best Pet Sounds impersonation: a big chorus and the cello,” Belsick says. He might be joking, but he’s also on track.

The band gives credit and praise to J Vega, who recorded the new EP at the Wilderness Studio. “I kept referring to him as a magician. He knows how to get the best take he can get out of you without pressure,” Belsick says. “He’s so good at what he does both from an engineering perspective and production.”

While production plays a significant role in the sound of the disc, the band has clearly worked at crafting the songs as a unit. Numerous groups give everyone songwriting credit, but LoFi Delphi takes a page from its classic pop influences, meticulously arranging the material to sound more like a group song than a riff with some embellishment. “It’s been neat to piece everything together, to think about it as a band instead of just one person bringing in an idea,” Gallagher says. “Bringing Andy [MacDonald] in has brought this new dimension to the band that we didn’t have before. It’s been kind of exciting to see where it’s taken us.”

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