Friday, November 7, 2014

REVIEW: The Orchids - Beatitude #9

Many of the bands we cover have no significant history.  The Orchids are not one of such bands.  The Glasgow outfit, formed in 1986, was one of the notable bands on legendary indie pop label Sarah Records.  Over the years they have released six studio albums, including three since they reformed in 2004 after about a decade on the shelf.  Not content to only mine the melancholy guitar pop vein of many of their '80s peers, The Orchids were early adopters of electronics and samples, an artistic choice the allows the over 20 year-old band to fit comfortably into today's indie scene.  But for me the core of their appeal has always been excellent songwriting and an effortless performance style, and on this important criteria, their latest album, Beatitude #9 is another triumph.

Containing a generous 14 tracks (including the radio sample opener), the album delivers perfectly formed upbeat indie pop songs such as "Something Going On" and "Just A Girl", achingly beautiful gems such as  "Felurian's Dream", and "A Perfect Foil", and fine dance grooves in "Someone Like You", The Coolest Thing" and "Today's the Day".  And other delightful odds and ends are presented, such as the glitchy "A Way to You", and the moody jangle of "Your Heart Sends Me", which is emerging as one of my favorites of the set.  The band's sense for the right combination of textures, the right mix of space and sound, is remarkable, and results in each song having a distinct personality.  One can -- and will -- find favorites, but there is no filler here.  There are 14 songs because the band had 14 quality songs that fit together -- songs that take you on a pop journey that I find perfect as a soundtrack for a sunny Saturday with time to myself.

You can stream the entirety of Beatitude #9 here.  If you don't have time for all of it, stream the second track, "Something Going On", "Someone Like You" and then the video below for "Hey! Sometimes".  That will give you a shortened tour of three main styles and the album, and the quality of the writing and execution.

Beatitude #9 is out now via Spanish label Acuarela, and you can find it at the usual digital outlets.

Acuarela (label)


Edoc said...

They were one of my favorite bands from the Sarah Records label in the 90's. Epicurean was a lovely record back from the day.

Edoc said...

Wow, "A Way to You" is a gorgeous time capsule from their earlier sound. Dreamy dreamy pop.