I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rapidly rising Halifax, UK-based act The Orielles over the past couple of years. Founded by siblings Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums), Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass) and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), the JOVM mainstays built up a great deal of buzz, when Heavenly Recordings‘ head Jeff Barrett signed the band after catching them open for labelmates The Parrots in late 2016.
2017’s critically applauded, full-length debut Silver Dollar Moment found the band establishing a genre-defying sound that meshed elements of psych rock, pop and disco centered around surrealistic observations of every day life. Interestingly, after Silver Dollar Moment, the band’s founding trio recruited Alex Stephens (keys) as a full-time member of the band, expanding the band into a quartet. And with their newest member, they went into the studio to record material that included “Bobbi’s Second World” and a cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane).” Those two singles saw the band’s sound increasingly (and playfully) leaning towards Speaking in Tongues-era Talking Heads, ESG and the like, while featuring rock-based instrumentation.
Last year, the JOVM mainstays were busy working on their highly-anticipated sophomore album Disco Volador. “Its literal interpretation from Spanish means flying disc but everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party,” the band’s Esme Dee Halford suggests in press notes. “But it is an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.”
Slated for a February 28, 2020 release, Disco Volador continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with producer Marta Salogni while reportedly finding the newly constituted quartet pushing their sound towards its outer limits with the band being astral travelers, creating progressive and trippy material that draws from samba, 70s disco, boogie funk, dance floor grooves and 90s acid house. And they do so while expanding their influences further to include the work of Italian film score composers Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliami, as well as contemporary acts like Khruangbin and Altin Gun. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” the band’s Sidonie B. Hand-Halford says in press notes.
Disco Volador also manages to capture the rapidly rising British indie act riding high off the success of their debut, which included a lengthy and successful summer tour with festival stops Green Man and bluedot. Late last year, I wrote about “Come Down On Jupiter,” Disco Volador‘s first single further cemented the band’s genre-defying sound, as it was centered around an expansive song structure: starting with a slow-burning and brooding into, the song quickly morphed into a breakneck guitar pop with a psychedelic-tinged freak out. While retaining the razor sharp, infectious hooks that helped the British indie act win attention nationally and internationally, “Come Down On Jupiter” also managed to be an example of how versatile the British JOVM mainstays can be. “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme),” the album’s latest single is a shimmering disco-tinged track, featuring propulsive polyrhythm led by four-on-the-floor drumming, layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitar, a sinuous bass line, Esmé Dee Hand-Halford’s ethereal vocals, arguably making it one of the most dance floor friendly and trippier songs they’ve released to date.
The Orielles will be embarking on their first North American tour. The tour will include appearances at the New Colossus Festival and SXSW, as well as a handful of West Coast shows. Check out the tour dates below.