The Orielles have nev­er rest­ed on their lau­rels. From their ear­li­est days, the prodi­gious­ly tal­ent­ed trio from West York­shire beamed out their sun­ny garagey indie sound and built up a fan base. But it did­n’t take long before the seeds of their inquis­i­tive minds began to flower, and they start­ed to veer off on a new and more uncer­tain path. They have cho­sen to exper­i­ment and push bound­aries, part­ly through their strong visu­al sense and love of film and photography.

The hints of a new direc­tion tak­ing shape were strong on their last album, La Vita Olis­ti­ca. And now The Orielles’ new album Tableau has launched. Excit­ing, exper­i­men­tal and con­fi­dent, this new work express­es a new matu­ri­ty, with influ­ences meld­ing and coa­lesc­ing, a launch into the unknown. 

Tableau is so expan­sive it takes quite a lot to ful­ly take stock of its breadth – genre-wise it encom­pass­es sev­er­al cat­e­gories. I sat down to lis­ten to the first cou­ple of tracks just to get an ini­tial gen­er­al idea, but this album is a jour­ney which sucks you into its core and com­pels you to expe­ri­ence it in full. From its open­ing notes it sends you into a strange, lim­i­nal space which requires your full atten­tion. And if you take the time to lis­ten and focus, Tableau is a huge­ly reward­ing experience.

First track Chro­mo I sets the scene, a mys­te­ri­ous and slight­ly spooky instru­men­tal track before shift­ing into the psy­che­del­ic dream­pop num­ber Chro­mo II with its open­ing notes sound­ing like Son­ic Youth. The fol­low­ing track Air­tight is one of my favourites with its whis­pered vocals with a Beach House vibe, instru­men­tal fragili­ty and insis­tent riff pulling it all togeth­er. In com­mon with oth­er tracks on the album, frag­ments of vocals and instru­men­ta­tion reveal them­selves before dis­ap­pear­ing into a melée of back­ground white noise. 

Dark­ened Cor­ners feels like a linch­pin track. There are touch­es of con­ver­sa­tions as Esme Hand-Hal­ford and Hen­ry Car­lyle Wade’s vocals float unan­chored, echo­ing. A feel of space and atmos­phere per­vade the track. There are dance-dri­ven num­bers on Tableau such as The Room, which con­tains some ele­ments of The Orielles of old with this track­’s play­ful, sun­ny vibe. The open­ing som­bre notes of Trans­mis­sion sig­nal a wind­ing down of the album, a med­i­ta­tive, unhur­ried and dreamy ballad. 

I’m still pro­cess­ing Tableau and each time I play it, there are new ele­ments to focus on. It will be inter­est­ing to see the band play the album live. Tableau is a curi­ous, fas­ci­nat­ing and orig­i­nal album and one of the best to come out this year. 

The Orielles Tableau release 7th Octo­ber 2022 Heav­en­ly Recordings

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