Evoking space-age dreams with their bright bops, The Orielles are a funky fresh band that you absolutely need to be listening to. In fact, scrap that. I’d say the word ‘experiencing’ is far more apt than simply ‘listening’ as their tracks are so engrossing, they’re a vessel for escaping reality…
Taking you on an adventure through the decades they stop off in the bright psychedelic 60s, have a boogie in the 70s and even a cheeky trip to explore 90s acid house, as well as blasting forward into another time and dimension with their futuristic synth sounds.
It’s no wonder that Heavenly Recordings; the same label boasting talent we love from Saint Etienne to Working Men’s Club, have these guys added to their fantastic roster. The Orielles boast the sweetest sounding melodies since Sarah Cracknell and a perfect balance of modern and classic just like WMC, whilst keeping everything uniquely their own; ticking all of the boxes for another Heavenly band destined for greatness.
The group consists of sisters Esmé Dee Hand-Halford on lead vocals/ bass and Sidonie B Hand-Halford on drums alongside friends Alex Stephens on Keys and Henry Carlyle Wade on guitar and backing vocals (providing a deeper undertone to Esmé’s gentle singing approach). Hailing from Yorkshire, they’ve been putting out singles since 2015 which really helped them to gauge direction before releasing debut album ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ in 2018.
Vibrant and charming, their first LP stands out in the sea of standard indie. Their key to doing so appears to be teasing you with that familiar formula we’re so accustomed to hearing but giving it a twist; thus subverting your expectations. Take Sunflower Seeds, for example, kicking off with a strong and cheery riff followed by thumping drum beats, it instantly captures your attention (in a way that almost seems too good to be true). However, it doesn’t stay linear and instead fades into a slow psychedelic squish that bands like Post Animal would be proud of, flipping the happy-go-lucky intro on its head.
They further prove their capability of making their mark on things by not only giving you brit-pop dreams like Mango but also more mellow notes in the laid back Liminal Spaces. As well as this, they also display great lyricism inspired by life, literature and philosophy on their tracks, with an abundance of stand-out lines on Henry’s Pocket. A song about trying to start afresh but being trapped by the past, it features vivid lines like “Trying to eat a moment and regurgitate it back up like you used to. We just hang in a web connecting us to past, present and future”.
Silver Dollar isn’t all that The Orielles have to offer either; displaying a real growth in confidence upon the release of their second album ‘Disco Volador’ put out earlier this year. Although I’d never bore of hearing Esmé’s melodies complimenting their funky sound the bands first record doesn’t quite boast the greatest exploration in tone. However, their follow up puts this point to bed with more variance in the delivery of lyrics and exploding instrumentals. Each track truly comes to life, all effortlessly cool with an airy quality. Further deviating from the mainstream sound produced by many current bands there’s a real retro essence at its core, layered with a forward-thinking distortion to create their own vibrant universe.
The album starts with Come Down On Jupiter, a song starting with a hint of Pulp’s darker records à la ‘This Is Hardcore’ that’s then perfectly juxtaposed by the soft melodies introduced into the mix. Sneakily, they then go on to build the track until you find yourself listening to a pop song that still maintains an edge with strutting guitars and more assertive vocals. Continuing to defy your initial anticipations, Memoirs of Miso’s simple lyrics of ’Falling in love’ float around as you drift away into a technicolour vortex. You’re then caressed by a gentle rhythm and drifting saxophone before it bursts back, bringing you into the room, ready to dance again.
Speaking of dancing, Memoirs certainly isn’t alone as single Bobbi’s Second World is bound to have you on your feet; delivering a groovy strut with its bopping bassline, throwing in some fun backing vocals and a sprinkle of sound effects. It’s a tale of turning a blind eye to reality and getting lost in your own head; something I often find myself doing in general but even more so to The Orielles tracks which are pure fuel for the imagination. Summarising Disco Volador is its own ‘theme’ Space Samba which captures the essence of the whole album; beaming and euphoric with a bit of sass to ensure that you don’t fall too far into the dreams induced.
Not only are the band ahead of their time with their indie evolution, but they also look like they truly have a gift for seeing into the future with the line ‘Isolation, room for creation’ being repeated on Sugar Tastes Like Salt; their single released back in 2017. The song that originally caught my attention, ‘Sugar’ not only predicted our 2020 life but also hits with attitude. Featuring upbeat punches, trippy guitar and sinister beats it’s an 8-minute exploration that showcases their capabilities in producing cosmic soundscapes and is a great introduction to the group.
With every one of The Orielles tunes encapsulating a little bit of celestial magic, I’m more than keen to see what else they have coming our way. Sadly, I don’t appear to have their seeming power to do so but based on merit have great faith that it will be something special, so watch this space.
Listen to The Orielles on Spotify