Music

The Orielles Make Their Charming Indie Danceable on 'Disco Volador'

Photo: Holly Fernando / Courtesy of Heavenly Recordings

On Disco Volador, the Orielles offer a thrift shop of sounds and gratify those who like their indie rock danceable.

Disco Volador
The Orielles

Heavenly Recordings

28 February 2020

On their solid 2018 debut album Silver Dollar Moment, the Halifax-based band the Orielles delivered polychromatic art-rock showcasing their knack for sugary hooks and a nuanced percussive underpinning that set them apart from other tuneful indie groups. Songs like "Old Stuff, New Glass" and "Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)" proved their funk nearly as flavorful as their pop. It shouldn't surprise that in a 2018 interview with the webzine Highclouds, the band name-dropped both the Pastels and A Certain Ratio as inspirations, accounting for both catchy-chorus ear-candy and club-rocking polyrhythms. Still, on Silver Dollar Moment, it seemed the band had yet to cash out on the groove.

The title of the Orielles' sophomore album, Disco Volador, telegraphs their development towards whetting the rhythms and gratifying those fans who like their indie rock danceable. It's a thrift shop of sounds – samba, post-punk, funk, dream pop, and nods to both 1990s alt-rock and acid-house – that bring to mind music writer Simon Reynolds' observations on the tendency of 21st-century bands to renovate and recombine past styles. In his book Retromania, Reynolds criticizes this approach, claiming that constantly mining the past can lead to creative stagnation for both individual bands and the culture at large. Maybe it's a matter of perception; what I hear in Disco Volador is music that's fresh and optimistic, the sound of a band having a blast splattering their record collections through your headphones.

"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," says drummer Sid Dee Hand Halford. "This is the sound of where we are at, right now."

Though the band's sound is distinctive and Disco Volador isn't overshadowed by its vast lineup of influences, the album will appeal to music geeks who enjoy guessing the sonic predecessors of modern indie bands. The groove on "Bobbi's Second World" brings to mind late 1970s/early 1980s funk-forward post-punk acts like Konk and Lizzy Mercier Descloux. Whereas the chorus on "Memoirs of Miso" sounds like 1990s-era Slowdive removed a few layers of reverberative gauze.

In that same Highclouds interview from 2018, the Orielles claimed to have peaked the number of tracks available to record for the song "Sugar Tastes Like Salt". This maximalist approach is apparent on Disco Volador. Though songs average less than four-and-a-half minutes, each is loaded (but not cramped) with styles and ideas. "7th Dynamic Goo" features synth stabs reminiscent of 808 State, prominent cowbell, synthesized worms squirming beneath uptempo drumming, a playground whistle calling between the left and right channels, and a chorus that equates dancing to astral travel.

One of the album's consistent themes seems to be a childlike fascination with space. "Euro Borealis" opens with a sparse funk groove before unfurling a 1960s girl-group-style harmony doused in swimming pools of reverb. The keyboards dappled throughout splash and bubble up to the surface like bursts of caffeinated sunshine. The album's opener, "Come Down on Jupiter", is phaser and flanger-drenched dream pop that flits between downtempo cruise and uptempo gallop.

"Come Down on Jupiter" is representative of this band's biggest strength. The tone color is sumptuous, and the song could have been carried by melodies alone and delivered as a straightforward pop jingle; but the percussion is just as enlivening, and when Esmé Dee Hand Halford cranks her bass loud enough, she firmly asserts this as a funk track. More proof that melodic headrush and dancefloor liberation are not always discrete prerogatives. And damn good proof at that.

7


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Prof. Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Music

Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.

Music

DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.

Music

JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.

Music

​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.

Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.