The Orielles - 'Disco Volador' Album Review
Updated: Mar 8
By Lewis Oxley
Yorkshire's young disco dynamos have returned with a catchy and breezy follow-up to their 2018 debut Silver Dollar Moment. This is a bold venture for the Halifax-based band, as it sees them go beyond more than the funky backbeats and jangly riffs that have made their sound iconic as a new and promising band. The bands influences range from Stereolab to A Certain Ratio, as well post-punk eletronica. More modern and diverse influences come in the shape of early Blur and Everything but the Girl, balancing the alternative range from which the bands sound is framed.
The 10-track L.P. running at just over 43 minutes, on Heavenly Records, is a refreshing diversion from some of their previous tracks, which were considerably shorter in length. The fact that this album is extended with several tracks going over the 5 minute barrier, places space and time as the two elements that make the album conceptual. On this L.P, the band fuse a sound that connects bold oscillations and synthesizers with their basic, but incredibly danceable beat. The albums opener, "Come Down on Jupiter" sees a great experimentation of this fusion. the opening drum riff overlaid by the oscillators creating an intergalactic effect, rather apt with the title of the track. This track sees the bands influence from the 60s and 70s come directly into effect, think Krautrock pioneers NEU! and CAN mixed with Funkadelic, with an undertone of retro pop.
"Bobbi's Second World" is one of the stars of this L.P. the single was originally released in autumn of 2018, and so to include in an album nearly 18 months on, seemed a risky move. However, its inclusion is a gamble that pays off. The opening bass riff from the bands lead singer, Esme Hand - Halford oozes a funky tone that is designed to get your mojo working, combining this with the echoing backing vocals create a wild swooning rhythm that empowers the need to boogie. The bass is certainly the focal point of this track and draws similarities with acts that were driven by melodic bass riffs, such as Jez Kerr from A Certain Ratio (who fronted the band, just like Hand-Halford in The Orielles). What I also find credible is the lyrical ballads of this track, the themes of this track point to confusion, curiosity and a coming of age.
If there are any comparisons that are completely direct with this album, it would be Stereolab's 1997 epic, Dots and Loops. It is easy to see how and why The Orielles have gone down this route, the numourous precussive elements, featured by the many instruments of precussion including, cowbell, maracas, and xylophone draw links to tracks like "The Flower Called Nowhere" and "Brakhage" from Stereolab's album, that also are prominent throughout Disco Volador . The album closer, "Space Samba (Disco Volador theme)" is a blissful end to this largely exciting record. The pulsating precussion captured beautifully in the fading cowbell solo at the end of the track, combined withswooning, jangly riffs capturing a Johnny Marr-esque lightness to the flurry of cowbell madness.
One slight crticism would be that because of this heavy influence, some tracks are almost trying hard to be like Stereolab to much to the extent that they loose some of the funky element and end up sounding a tad flat. However, what cannot be contested, is that this effort from the Yorkshire band is an exciting and bold attempt that certainly refreshes you from the dark nights of winter and into the joyous days of spring. If Stereolab captured a "French Disko", then for sure, The Orielles have captured all the alluring oddities of a disco done the Yorkshire way - A Yorkshire Disco you might say.