19th February | Rough Trade
Photos: Birmingham 81
Over the past few years of playing shows on the DIY circuit, The Orielles have built up a loyal community around them, reflecting the amicable bunch they are, and apparent in the warm reception they’re given at Rough Trade. The reputation they’ve gathered as an impressive, enthralling live band is evident as the set, which consists predominantly of tracks from their freshly-released debut, Silver Dollar Moment, demonstrates an incredible tightness and dexterity to the trio’s playing, with rhythms and melodies that swerve and oscillate with a great variety and frequency.
Opening with the jangling, fuzzy, melodic haze of ‘Snaps’ and the swooning rhythms of ‘Old Stuff, New Glass’ the vivacity of the band’s sound is immediately present, permeating the room with a resounding exuberance evoked by their sprightly and bright surf-rock sounds. The only thing missing is the usual energetic stage presence of Henry Carlyle Wade, who’s unfortunately seated with a broken leg, “Big Jeff said earlier this is the most sedate I’ve ever played,” he says.
Nevertheless this doesn’t detract from their performance, and Henry makes up for it chiming in with wry comments, announcing “we’ve got some bottles on sale with an ‘I Only Bought It for The Bottle’ sticker, it’s got fuck all inside it…if you want to hear the punchline, come and get one after,’ before the three of them dive into the aforementioned track, which sees them play with expectations of rhythm and tempo in a way that feels like it shouldn’t work, but completely does. Almost lurching jolts and swift guitar riffs give way to a carnivalesque fusion of whistle shrills and cow-bell chimes.
The precision with which they play is a testament to their talent, very much on show throughout their performance. ‘Sunflower Seeds’ swoons with a kind of nonchalant psych-rock languor that builds to a racing, clattering chorus. Firm favourite, ‘Let Your Dogtooth Grow’ soars through the audience with its glimmering guitar chords that form rich and resonant layers of sonic haze, and the undeniably funky ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ offers particularly infectious rhythms, conveying a certain nostalgic edge to the sound.
As the set comes to a close, Esmé Dee Hand-Halford humbly voices the band’s appreciation to everyone for coming out to see them, adding “hopefully the next time we’re here Henry will be on fewer prescription painkillers”, before they close with the expansive ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’. It cascades with a melodic, woozy psychedelia of clashing cymbals, shuddering rhythms that accelerate and decelerate with a certain unpredictability, and of course some percussive cowbell accompaniment to complete.
Whilst some bands, capable of playing their tracks with such exactness, come across with a certain formulaic and lifeless air, the opposite is the case for The Orielles. The gloriously-textured melodic layers that the three of them create become even more tangible live and their songs are imbued with even more vivacity, resulting in an utterly captivating and impressive show.
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