Album Review: The Orielles – Silver Dollar Moment

Backseat Mafia recently interviewed Halifax band The Orielles following the release of a couple excellent singles in anticipation of their debut album, “Silver Dollar Moment” due out on 16 February 2018. We’ve had a listen to the album and it really is an extraordinary debut.

Sweet harmonies over a scuzzy layer of instruments is not new in the world of indie rock, but in “Silver Dollar Moments”, The Orielles manage to upend expectations at every turn through surprising timing, creative use of instrumentation and intelligent, thoughtful lyrics. Above all though, there are melodies and harmonies that soar.

Take, for example, second track on the album, “Old Stuff” with its rolling insistent bass which has a break in the middle that would fit into any Latin dance party anthem replete with trills and whistles – something only an experienced indie band like Doves would have the audacity and confidence to try. And The Orielles have audacity and confidence by the tonne. Third track “Sunflower Seeds” has the most beautiful, uplifting chorus and yet has ambitious timing changes and subtle shifts that surprise and yet work so well.

Two singles, “Let Your Dog Tooth Grow” and “I Only Bought it for the Bottle” are classic indie pop songs with catchy choruses and glorious harmonies – the former with an ominous male voice tracked deep under the verses that defies expectations and creates a disturbing tension:

The band stated in its recent interview with Backseat Mafia that they write many songs after watching movies, and the influence of Directors such as Nicolas Winding Refn and Yorgos Lanthimos are cited. They also chose the band’s name not only because of its meaning (ears in French) but because it sounds like The Shirelles – and indeed the layered harmonies do recall sixties girl groups. In terms of vocals, I can’t help also think of female-fronted bands like The Breeders, Elastica and, dare I say, Bananarama with their mix of melancholic tinged melodies and driving beat. In terms of contemporary music, I am reminded of one of Backseat Mafia’s favourite new bands, New Zealand’s Fazerdaze.

Instrumentally however, the band displays a level of innovation and creativity of bands like Tom Tom Club, The Go! Team and CSS. Guitar tones are not always conventional and quite often experimental, and the band is not afraid to add other instruments and rhythms to the mix – witness most recent single, “Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist”) reviewed recently by Backseat Mafia with ‘its addition of tambourine and bells and other kitchen sink percussion equipment’:

There is an outrageous level of creativity and innovation in this album. It is old fashioned indie rock reanimated and reinvigorated for the era and delivered with melody, harmony and intelligence. The album is released through Heavenly Recordings – who with the recent signing of another favourite, Hatchie – are building up quite a stable of artists. You can – and indeed should – preorder the album here.

The Orielles are:

Esmé Dee Hand-Halford – Lead Vocals, Bass
Henry Carlyle Wade – Guitar, Vocals
Sidonie B Hand-Halford – Drums

Track Listing:
1. Mango
2. Old Stuff, New Glass
3. Sunflower Seeds
4. Let Your Dogtooth Grow
5. Liminal Spaces
6. The Sound Of Liminal Spaces
7. I Only Bought It For The Bottle
8. Henry’s Pocket
9. 48 Percent
10. Borrachero Tree
11. Snaps
12. Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist|)

You can catch the band throughout the UK in February and Europe in April:

16th Nottingham Rough Trade (in store)
17th Sheffield Yellow Arch Studios
18th Birmingham Hare & Hounds
19th Bristol Rough Trade (in store)
20th Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
21st London Rough Trade East (in store)
22nd Glasgow Mono
23rd Hebden Bridge Trades Club

3rd Paris la Maroquinerie
4th Brussels Botanique Witloof Bar
5th Utrecht ACU
6th Amsterdam Sugar Factory
7th Hamburg Molotow
8th Berlin The Monarch
12th London The Garage
13th Leeds Brudenell Social Club
14th Manchester Gorilla

5th Liverpool Liverpool Sound City
6th Leicester Handmade Festival
17th Brighton Great Escape

Previous See: Titus Andronicus reveal new video for 'Above the Bodega (Local Business)'
Next Incoming: The Mercy

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