Nostalgic but not tired; sugary but not sickly sweet, the debut album from Halifax trio The Orielles is a triumph. The twelve-track album whirls you through a time-warp of indie-pop history while also making notable nods towards the girl-group melodies of the ‘60s and dabbling in mid-‘80s shoegaze and scuzz. Yet the album never feels out-dated or overdone. There’s a mastery to creating songs that feel familiar and sentimental without sounding like an homage or tribute, and The Orielles have it down to a T.
There’s an appealing charm and admiration in hearing the complexity in The Orielles’ music, too. Cheery indie-pop can often sound overly simple and obvious, but the ever changing shifts and turns on ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ keep you hooked until the last echoing vocal on closing track, ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’. Esmé Halford’s vocals lead the shifts in sound, one minute all sunshine and daydream pop; the next channelling a more longing quality, reminiscent of Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino.
Standout tracks include the breezy opener ‘Mango,’ a pop gem with catchy guitar hooks and a Californian-summer, sing-a-long chorus. There’s a fresh playfulness to the track which is echoed in ‘48 percent.’ Mid-‘80s influences can be heard on single ‘Let Your Dog Tooth Grow,’ another highlight. The track never falls into twee territory by throwing in a few signature surprises. The male voice underlying Halford’s vocals, for example, give a welcome, unsettling quality to the otherwise infectious synthy pop and add an additional element of depth to the song. “It’s haunting me,” sings Halford appropriately given the lingering and dream-like beauty of the melancholic ‘Liminal Spaces,’ another stand-alone song.
For all their feel-good, boppy charm, The Orielles have created a truly intelligent indie-pop album with ‘Silver Dollar Moment.’ Describing this album is a tricky task — the twists and turns disarm you at every corner, spinning a new sound into the mix or changing the tempo completely. But it’s this uncertainty that’ll hook you onto The Orielles, and besides, who doesn’t love surprises?
Words: Ashleigh Grady
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