The Orchids: The Lost Star (pebble Records)

“You deserve The Nivens” (Bob Stanley. Melody Maker. 1989)

Now not many people will understand that quote. Probably not even The Orchids. As our policy at The Northern Line is; “if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing” I wont explain it!!! So it will keep until I meet Bob Stanley in person. (I’ve waited 21 years so a bit longer wont be a problem.) Anyway, back to the fabulous return of one of Scotlands greatest bands. I put them up there with the old favourites; Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes, early Belle & Sebastian and the Jesus & Mary Chain. But now that they are back with new material they can sit along side the Mitchell Museum, Washington Irving and Woodenbox with a Fistfull of Fivers as one of Caledonia’s finest.

Now back in the late 80s The Orchids released a number of singles and albums on that legendary indie label Sarah Records. Now a lot of people just didn’t get Sarah records. They dismissed everything because of the music press of the day deciding that if it wasn’t from Madchester then it wasn’t worth covering. Then the music press went all grunge and a bunch of indie chancers from Bristol had no chance. So a lot of you probably missed Unholy Soul and Striving for the Lazy Perfection. You’ve probably never marvelled at the beauty that is Yawn (my favourite Orchids track). Well, this is your chance. They’ve reformed and have released this wonderful album on one of our new favourite labels; Pebble records (Pebble 002).

The album is still full of jangly guitars but they’ve added synths, along with the usual lush melodies and breathy vocals. These boys might have been around for 23 or more years but this album is fresh and vibrant. Dominic De Guzman opens the album and sets the tone; looking to the stars rather than the gutter. It lasts 25 seconds and quickly mutates into Doot Doot (till it happens to you) like Fox Base Alpha era Saint Etienne. A nod to our friend Bob? But a cracker it is anyway. God of Special Things continues the religious imagery with a pulsating bass that draws you in and makes you consider the bigger things in life. I wasn’t too sure about Jane Loves Johnny, a tale of heroin/methadone addiction, but like the drugs it worms its way into the brain and is now one of my favourites on the album. There are more songs about love, loss and Parisian Fairs that all entrap the listener and take them to a dreamy place/state that one used to be transported to back in 86/87 with all those great forgotten indie bands. The Orchids keep that spirit alive without sounding cliched or dated. A beautiful album and one of my favourites of the year.

LINKS:

THE ORCHIDS      http://www.theorchids.net/

PEBBLE RECORDS   http://www.pebblerecords.co.uk/

SARAH RECORDS       http://home2.btconnect.com/smoke/shinkansen.htm

 

By peter on December 31, 2010


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