The Orielles have never rested on their laurels. From their earliest days, the prodigiously talented trio from West Yorkshire have beamed out their sunny garagey indie sound and built up a solid fan base in the process. But it didn’t take long before the seeds of their inquisitive and experimental minds began to flower, and they started to veer off on a new and more uncertain path. Instead of sticking to the tried and tested, they have chosen to experiment and push boundaries, partly through their strong visual sense and love of film and photography, and an eclectic musical taste that spans the decades and genres.
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 been released. Exciting, experimental and confident, this new work expresses a maturity, with influences melding and coalescing, a launch into unknown territory.
Tableau is so expansive it takes quite a lot to fully take stock of its breadth – genre-wise it encompasses numerous categories from prog to ambient psychedelia and many more besides. By way of introduction to it, 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 echoing vocals float unanchored. A feel of space and atmosphere pervade the track. There are dance-driven numbers on Tableau such as The Room, which revive some elements of The Orielles of old with a 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 make their way out into the world this year.
The Orielles Tableau release 7th October 2022 Heavenly Recordings