The Orielles – Disco Volador

A ray of sunshine to get summer started ahead of schedule...

What do The Orielles think they’re playing at? Here we are, welly-deep in February, buffeted by rain, cold and sadness. All we want is to curl up under something warm and soft and listen to Kid A again. But no, here come the dreampop squad from Halifax, dropping a record seemingly purpose-built to for summer festivals.

Then again, ‘Disco Volador' – with its otherworldly sounds and lyrics concerning cosmic patterns, transparent shapes and a type of goo that pulls you into outer space – is largely about escaping the mundanity of the everyday, rewarding listeners that allow their imaginations to wander. So maybe this is exactly when it needed to appear?

The Orielles draw from a similar well of pillow-soft psychedelia as Crumb or Melody’s Echo Chamber. There are traces of ‘60s girl groups like The Shangri-Las or The Ronettes in the vocal delivery of bassist Esme Dee Hand-Halford, a detached, teenage crush dissonance with which she successfully sells the record’s sillier moments.

And, boy, does this album have its share of silly moments. There’s the “Pew! Hah! Hi-ya!” backing vocals over Herbie Hancock ‘Rock It’ scratches on the exuberant ‘Bobbi’s Second World’, the cowbell overload of closing track ‘Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme)’, and there’s ‘7th Dynamic Goo’ – on which the word “boogie” is employed liberally and without shame. It’s all quite Mighty Boosh’, but more power to The Orielles for channelling it.

Anyone who has caught this band live and witnessed guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade’s singular performance style (his eccentricity teetering between the charming and the worrying) will know that The Orielles are a pretty tongue-in-cheek bunch. This time around Wade has enhanced his Steve Lacy-meets-Johnny Marr guitar style by introducing it to fellow party guest Nile Rodgers, helping the band nail down the peculiar ‘disco-psych’ vibe to which the album title (which also translates into Spanish as “flying saucer”) clearly alludes.

More than even its predecessor, ‘Disco Volador’ is DTC (down to clown). If you’re in the right mood, it’s a fun slice of cosmic silliness that absolutely deserves to be packed away in your coolbox and brought out, nicely chilled, in approximately five months’ time. However, if your vibe is even slightly off then it can quickly become annoying in that subtle way that’s hard to register at first, but soon makes itself felt.

Either way, The Orielles are the antithesis of the February blues. So, if you’re in the mood to get summer started ahead of schedule, let this little ray of sunshine into your life.


Words: Josh Gray

– – – 

Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.


Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.