Album Review: PJ Orr – Tightrope Walker

There is a calming beauty in PJ Orr’s new album ‘Tightrope Walker’ which incorporates the vibrant genes of fellow Australian indie bands – both past and present – and packages this into its own distinctive, mellifluous tones.

For PJ Orr are unashamedly Australian: the undisguised vocal twang, the raw lyrical exposition and a jingle jangly sound that have defined bands from The Triffids, The Go-Betweens through to more recent examples like Key Out, RVG and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. This is a rich and glorious vein to tap, and ‘Tightrope Walker’ has created its own distinctive pipeline from this particular stream.

Indeed, just as there are only seven stories in the world, and Shakespeare’s true talent was not not the stories he told but the way he told them, PJ Orr have delivered an album that has an age old style embedded in its genetic code, but has expressed it in a rare and beautiful form.

Prime example is ‘Fcked Up’ – there is an inherent sense of humour and brashness that still is leavened by sensitivity – an ability to reject brutal masculinity to deliver something that is delicate and heartfelt.

The title track and single from the album must have been chosen purely by random selection: any song on this album could have been a single. It is a sparkling and carbonated track, imbued with melody and an air of wistfulness. The production is crystal clear and crisp:

‘Modern Way’ features gorgeous guitar tones and a contemplative tone that drifts and winds itself through your head like a distant memory.

‘Care a Lot’, a slow ballad underpinned by deep, crystal piano tinkering, is beautiful and melancholic and contrasted immediately by the bouncy indie pop pace of ‘Risk’, exposing PJ Orr’s range of tone. The latter reflects the lyrical themes in the album – the ordinary and mundane expressed in the most ethereal and poetic form.

‘Tightrope Walker’ is a gorgeous album filled with evocative poetry and crystalline sounds.

The album is out now through US label Misra Records and you can get it through the link below:

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