THE ORIELLES (photo Neelam Khan Vela)

– The Ritz, Manchester –

This is being billed as a homecoming gig of sorts for The Orielles. By ‘homecoming’, I think people mean ‘big gig up north’, as the band hail from Halifax on the wrong side of the Pennines to Manchester, but we’ll let that slide; the excitement amongst a near to sellout crowd certainly makes it feel like some kind of homecoming. Fresh off the back of the release of their second album, the almost-psych, somewhat kraut-rock, really very good Disco Volador, there is definitely an air of celebration about the night’s proceedings.

It’s the new album that takes centre stage tonight, and it’s refreshing to see a young band have so much confidence in their new material, with all but three songs played fresh from Disco Volador (and one of the other tracks is a cover of The Seatbelt’s ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ in the encore). They set out their stall early, coming on stage and entering straight into a psych-jam groove that melts into album opener ‘Come Down on Jupiter’, the title of which pretty much sums up the track, a spaced out, swirling track that recalls the best of Jane Weaver. There’s just one slight issue that gnaws at me the whole night, right from the off – the muddy sound. Bassist and vocalist Ésme Dee Hand-Handford (incredible name) just doesn’t sound right, her vocals not cutting through the dirge-y sound coming from the Ritz’s speakers. It’s odd, as I saw Angel Olsen here a couple of weeks ago, and the sound was pristine, so it’s a massive shame that it takes a bit of the edge off the evening. Indeed, it renders the whole gig a bit same-y, with standout tracks from the album like the brilliant ‘7th Dynamic Goo’ and the absolute bop that is ‘Space Samba (Disco Volador theme)’ kinda just melding into each other.

The groove the band hit though is undeniable; they’re tight as fuck and occasionally exhilarating, like on the stomping ‘Bobbi’s Second World’, which if there is any justice in the world should become an indie disco staple. Guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade is difficult to tear my eyes away from, he’s the lynchpin of the band, a whirling dervish of a man constantly on the move, smashing out guitar hooks like there’s no tomorrow whilst also doing a bit of a gurn and chastising dickhead crowd members who are shouting inappropriate shit at Ésme (seriously…just fuck the fuck off out of gigs if you’re going to do this, pricks). He’s sensational, and makes the shoddy sound seem secondary to the spectacle he’s managing to create on his own.

Songs from their debut album ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ and ‘Sunflower Seeds’ in the encore are both rapturously received, but without a doubt it’s the groove of the new material that shines tonight. The morning after, my mate who was with me said ‘I can see them becoming pretty big’, and whilst I agree I also think they lack that massive crossover, arms aloft singalong track that could facilitate this for them, but I have no doubt they have it in them, and they have time on their side. For the moment, The Orielles are a very decent young band on the up, with the world at their groove-laden feet. Just get a better sound set up next time, yeah? Yeah!

THE ORIELLES Official | Facebook | Twitter