ALBUM REVIEW: The Orielles – Disco Volador

Release Date: February 28th 2020
Label: Heavenly Recordings


There are certain bands that possess something indescribable. You can’t quantify it, because there’s something intrinsic about the nature of charisma that makes it slippery, constantly wrong footing you as you’re drawn closer in.

Well, The Orielles possess this in spades, meaning there are moments on their full-length ‘Disco Volador’ where you’ll find yourself falling a little bit in love with them.

This album, the band’s second following 2018’s ‘Silver Dollar Moment’, flows very much in its predecessor’s mould. It’s gleaming sharp, bursting with ideas and aware of its influences without ever feeling retrograde. Where it improves on that enjoyable debut is in the band’s immediately apparent increase of confidence.

‘Bobbi’s Second World’ is a Tom Tom Club-esque romp, filled with copious percussion, gang vocals, and vocalist Esme Hand-Halford‘s cool, laconic drawl. Whip smart and specifically female lyrics about potential futures also show that The Orielles have much more up their sleeves than just owning the right gear. The gorgeous and melancholic ‘A Material Mistake’ treads similar lyrical terrain, discussing time and space and all the anxieties that come along with our inexorable progression towards the future.

Fortunately, The Orielles never seem afraid of what’s to come. They possess so much confidence and youthful drive that to journey with them through ‘Disco Volador’ is rarely anything less than a pleasure. The album is undeniably long, ten songs in forty-three minutes is a lot for a young indie band’s sophomore release, and it can feel like the band has so many ideas and sounds they want to include that the album becomes a touch swollen.

But this is hard to criticise a young band for, and while there are songs that feel overloaded – too many layers of percussion, too many riffs at the end of a track, etc. – The Orielles should be commended for having the nerve to pack in so much on only their second full-length release.

The album also manages to overload any accusations of pandering to a retro mindset through its sheer swagger and personality. There are some very-ESG rhythms, and vocals that occasionally even sound like Bananarama, however, the band never simply offer a tour down musical memory lane. They might be children of the post-modern age, but they seem more than confident enough in their abilities to formulate their own identity.

Though imperfect, ‘Disco Volador’ is a joy from start-to-finish. The flaws of the band are rendered null and void by their starry-eyed love of music and all the myriad, groovy shapes that it can be bent into. A lyrical fascination with space and the future adds a layer of wistful beauty to this already captivating sound. Here’s hoping that The Orielles can continue into the strange new dawn with all the joie de vivre they have displayed thus far.