Saturday 8 October 2022

The Orielles - Manchester Stoller Hall - 7th October 2022

To celebrate the release of their breathtaking third album Tableau, The Orielles performed a special set of tracks taken from the album and a couple of older favourites featuring strings from the Northern Session Collective to a reverential audience in the imposing surroundings of the Stoller Hall in Manchester.

It's fitting that The Orielles launch their third album in Manchester, the city they now call home and in a venue that's not accustomed to indie guitar bands gracing their stage. not that The Orielles are your run-of-the-mill indie guitar band any more, if they ever were. Tableau, a striking yet simple title, is a representative one for an album where The Orielles push the boundaries of their sound, experiment with plug-ins and randomisation techniques and cast aside the traditional expectations of what a band of their genesis should be doing with a song. 

There's a wonderful feel to the record, a sense of the listener being allowed into their creative process, sat centrally as it flows around them, best listened to in one continual sitting late at night with headphones in a dark room. It's brave, in a world where bands are judged on sales and playing games with multi-formatting to achieve the optimum chart placing, but Tableau very much comes across as a record made for the sole intention of sating creative urges and exploring the outer limits of three tight-knit musicians entering their second decade together as a unit. Tracks like Beam/s and Transmission have more ideas in one song that many of their contemporaries have in a whole album - and it has the vibe of a soundtrack for a film that doesn't exist. It's one of the finest records made this year.

Translating experimental records to the live stage is never an easy task, but it's one that The Orielles, aided by the wonderful orchestra, get just right. Sidonie's drums are heavier and more forceful live than on the record (although that may just be the accident that we're sat in front of her stage left in the front row) without overpowering the rest of the instrumentation. They're not too proud or stubborn to use backing tracks and a whole set of effects either where they're most appropriate to ensure the record crosses over to the live stage having added a keyboard / synth player to the core trio as well as the strings. Esme's vocals throughout act like another instrument, resisting the urge to be there in every moment, floating in moments, moving forward and then back into the mix and it's perfect for the lighter elements in her voice. 

Across fourteen tracks we're treated to twelve from Tableau including recent singles Beam/s and The Room which are a good starting point for the album if you're curious, the standouts being Darkened Corners, one of the album's longest pieces Transmission and the set-closing The Instrument which is probably the closest in style to their first two albums. Henry tells us that they're also delighted to have had the opportunity to revisit a couple of their earlier songs with the orchestra - and the audience share that delight on Bobbi's Second World and Sunflower Seeds, the latter a particularly exciting choice for the band themselves. It's testament to both the quality of the performance, the songs and the audience themselves that the Tableau songs are listened to without any of the irritating chatter that seems to be present whenever a band is revealing new material.

They don't say much throughout, a thank you here and there but no great explanation behind the songs and the recording methods other than a short piece from Henry on how Beam/s was one of the first they worked on once they reassembled after lockdown, they simply let the music do the talking for them. With Tableau, The Orielles have taken a brave step away from perceived commercial wisdom and made a record that's challenging, innovative and will reveal new layers on each exploration and tonight they showed that they are able to translate that in front of a room of eagerly expectant people.

The Orielles played Chromo I, Chromo II, Airtight, Bobbi's Second World, Television, Beam/s, Someday Later, Darkened Corners, Drawn And Defined, Sunflower Seeds, By Its Light, Transmission, The Room and The Instrument.

The Orielles' website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter

The album can be ordered on exclusive clear vinyl from Piccadilly Records.

They tour at Cambridge Mash (March 22), Brighton Concorde 2 (23), Southampton Engine Rooms (27), Oxford O2 Academy (28), Sheffield Foundry (31), Birmingham The Mill (April 1), Stoke Sugarmill (2), Nottingham Rescue Rooms (5) and Glasgow The Garage (8).

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