For those of you unfamiliar with The Orchids’ work, their music is bright pop music, crystal clear, but in no way you could describe it as featherweight pop. “Good to be a stranger” is the most masterful and perfect distillation of their gifts so far. Sheer magnificence is contained in these 10 perfect songs. Every track is a meticulously constructed sound world, where the arrangement and instrumentation sublimely bring each tune to completeness. In many ways, The Orchids paved the way for the zen perfection of other 90’s acts (Belle and Sebastian, Trash Can Sinatras, Holiday, ). Of course the Scottish band also makes us think of predecessors or contemporaries such as The Colourfield, Pale Fountains, Prefab Sprout, Go-Betweens, Orange Juice, Housemartins, Josef K, June Brides, Felt, Close Lobsters, Bodines, Bradford… Well, the Sarah records’ flagship band is back after a 14 years hiatus in the shadows of Scotland. Salute The Orchids’ goodness, give your senses a treat and get this album. You won't be disappointed!
The enigmatic five piece band formed in Glasgow have released some of the finest pop songs of their generation since humble beginnings in Penilee, a suburb of the city, where the three founder members grew up and started the band in 1986. Their first six singles and three albums were met with widespread critical acclaim, much of this from out-with the UK (Do no miss the LTM “must-have” re-issues of The Orchids’ albums & singles) . They graduated from the gentle lo-fi craft of their first album, Lyceum, in 1989 (“A minor classic – don’t let is pass you by” said NME) through to the ground breaking and progressive sounds of their third, and aptly titled, Striving For The Lazy Perfection (“lithe, evocative and memorable music” – Melody Maker) in 1994 with “sixth member” Ian Carmichael of One Dove at the studio controls.
In the intervening years they released Unholy Soul in 1991 (“Sarah Records answer to the Beach Boys Pet Sounds”) and some truly original singles & EPs that, in keeping with a stance sometimes perceived as awkward and single minded, were always kept apart from album projects. The ethos was always more about value for money for their fans than genuine stubbornness, however. These included what many believe to be the high point of their career to date, Something For The Longing as well as final single Thaumaturgy in 1993.
Reformed in 2004 after a break of Paddy McAloon proportions they are now ready to take another swipe at the tedious world of the music business with an album that takes them back to their musical roots. Recorded at Riverside Studios, home to other better known homegrown acts such as Travis, Teenage Fanclub and Trash Can Sinatras, their new record Good To Be A Stranger is a fabulous collection of new songs that will feed the hungry appetite of the fan base that has grown over the intervening years. Ahead of their time in the early 90’s, it is only now that many have realised how fascinating and mature those earlier releases were.
The new and memorable album is released on Madrid based label Siesta and the band will be heading out to play live gigs for the first time in twelve years to promote the new release – nothing like keeping your fans waiting! Offers of gigs in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Singapore and the USA illustrate how the world wide web has allowed their global reputation to grow. Following the album, a cover of The Go Betweens’ song Magic In Here will also appear on a Grant McLennan tribute album released on USA’s Rare Victory Records.
In the meantime this record should be your cup of tea. At least if you like good, intelligent pop, this is it!
“The best Scottish pop band since Orange Juice” – Melody Maker
“A blissful mix of the best Scottish bands of the last few years” – NME”
“Luxuriant textures, immaculate pop fizz with enviable purpose”
2005 L T M Reissues
LYCEUM + SINGLES L T MCD 2442
Newly remastered for CD, Lyceum + Singles runs for 66 minutes, features 20 tracks and includes liner notes by Alistair Fitchett. Stand-out tracks on the 1989 mini album Lyceum include It's Only Obvious, the punk-rock rush of Caveman and the minor chord gem Blue Light. Among the pick of the twelve bonus cuts are Tiny Words, Yawn and the anti-Poll Tax protest song Defy The Law. Also included are both sides of the rare 7" single released on Bob Stanley's Caff label. Full tracklist: It's Only Obvious, A Place Called Home, Caveman, The York Song, Carrole-Anne, Hold On, Blue Light, If You Can't Find Love, I've Got a Habit, Apologies, Give Me Some Peppermint Freedom, Defy the Law, Underneath the Window Underneath the Sink, Tiny Words, Walter, What Will We Do Next, As Time Goes By, Yawn, An Ill Wind that Blows, All Those Things.
Reviews: "Exemplary reissue of Postcard-pretty twangle" (Uncut, 10/05); "Another fountainhead of unqualified greatness" (Melody Maker, 1990); "splendid - 8/10" (NME, 1989); "Apologies is a lost jangly pop gem, and even more interesting is Yawn, where the group begins to understand space and atmosphere" (Leonard's Lair, 9/05); "It's Only Obvious is a winsome, old skool indie-pop rush of a thing featuring the first flush chorus 'who needs tomorrow?'" (Whisperin' & Hollerin', 10/05)
UNHOLY SOUL + SINGLES L T MCD 2445
Also remastered for CD, Unholy Soul + Singles runs for 70 minutes, boasts 20 tracks (including nine bonus cuts) as well as more liner notes by Alistair Fitchett. Stand-out tracks on the 1991 album Unholy Soul include Dirty Clothing, Bringing you the Love, The Sadness of Sex Pt 1 and the should-have-been single Peaches. Among the pick of the bonus cuts are the singles Something for the Longing and Bemused, Confused and Bedraggled. Full tracklist: Me and the Black and White Dream, Women Priests and Addicts, Bringing You the Love, Frank De Salvo, Long Drawn Sunday Night, Peaches, Dirty Clothing, Moon Lullaby, Coloured Stone, The Sadness of Sex (Pt 1), Waiting for the Storm, You Know I'm Fine, Bemused, Confused and Bedraggled, Pelican Blonde, Tropical Fishbowl, How Does That Feel, Sigh, Something for the Longing, Farewell Dear Bonnie, On a Sunday.
Reviews: "Ecstatic and blanched, the Orchids' career runs oddly parallel to that of Bobby Gillespie, but without the ruthless historical revisionism" (Uncut, 10/05); "A beautiful album - timeless melodies for sure" (Melody Maker, 1991)
STRIVING FOR THE LAZY PERFECTION + SINGLES L T MCD 2451
This remastered and expanded edition of SFTLP runs for 67 minutes (18 tracks) and includes yet more liner notes by Alistair Fitchett. Originally released in 1994, stand-out tracks on SFTLP include Obsession No 1, A Kind of Eden, Lovechild and A Living Ken and Barbie. The five bonus tracks are culled from the 1992 single Thaumaturgy plus demo tracks. Full tracklist: Obsession No. 1, Striving for the Lazy Perfection,The Searching, Welcome to my Curious Heart, Avignon, A Living Ken and Barbie, Beautiful Liar, A Kind of Eden, Prayers to St Jude, Lovechild, Give a Little Honey, I've Got to Wake Up to Tell You My Dreams, The Perfect Reprise, Thaumaturgy, I Was Just Dreaming, Between Sleeping and Waking, It's Ours, The Letter.
· Sha-La-La Flexi 5 (FLX) - 1987 on Sha La La Flexis – fanzine”From This Day "
· I've Got A Habit - 1988 on Sarah Records - SARAH 002
· Underneath The Window, Underneath The Sink - 1988 on Sarah Records - SARAH 011
· What Will We Do Next - Sep 1989 on Sarah Records - SARAH 023
· Somethings For The Longing - Feb 1990 on Sarah Records - SARAH 029
· An I'll Wind That Blows - 1990 on Caff Corporation - CAFF 11
· Lyceum (10'') 4.Sep 1989 on Sarah Records - SARAH 401
· Lyceum (CD) 1989 on Midnight Music France
· Penetration EP (12") Feb 1991 on Sarah Records - SARAH 042
· Thaumaturgy EP (7"+CDS) Sep 1992 on Sarah Records - SARAH 066
· Unholy Soul (LP+CD) May 1991 on Sarah Records - SARAH 605
· Epicurean (LP+CD) Aug 1992 on Sarah Records - SARAH 611
· Striving For The Lazy Perfection (LP+CD) Jan 1994 on Sarah Records - SARAH 617
· Spare a thought (K7) 1987 on Porrit's Hill Records Phew1 – "Here comes my train"
· Everlasting - A Tape Compilation (K7) &ndash 1989 on Rhythm - BAIT 1 &ndash &ldquoAn Ill Wind That Blows"
· Shadow Factory &ndash LP - 1989 on Sarah Records &ndash SARAH587 - "Underneath The Window, Underneath The Sink" - "Give Me Some Peppermint Freedom" - "Tiny Words" &ndash "Apologies"
· Grimsby Fishmarket 4 Norrkoeping 0 (K7) - 1990 on Records From The Cookie Noise Tower &ndash &ldquoAnd When I Wake Up"
· Temple Cloud &ndash LP &ndash 1990 on Sarah Records &ndash SARAH376 &ndash "Yawn"
· Air Balloon Road &ndash CD &ndash 1990 on Sarah Records &ndash SARAH545 - "It's Only Obvious" - "Underneath The Window, Underneath The Sink" - "Blue Light"
· Glass Arcade &ndash LP+CD &ndash 1991 on Sarah Records &ndash SARAH501 - "Farewell, Dear Bonnie" - "Something For The Longing"
· Fountain Island &ndash LP+CD &ndash 1992 on Sarah Records &ndash SARAH583 - "Tropical Fishbowl"
· EEC Punk Rock Mountain: A Sarah Bootleg live compilation (LP/CD) on Fierce Records - Fright 056, 7/92 - "Bemused, Confused And Bedraggled" - "Peaches"
· Engine Common LP+CD 1994 on Sarah Records SARAH628 - "Thaumaturgy" - "I Was Just Dreaming"
· Waaaah Single No.3 - Jun 1994 on Waaaaaah - BULL 7-0 - Orchids / Bouquet / Crystal Garden Striving For The Lazy Perfection
· There and Back Again Lane &ndash 1995 on Sarah Records &ndash SARAH100 &ndash ''Peaches''
· TX - 08/05/1990
· Producer - Dale Griffin
· Engineer - Mike Walter
· Studio - Maida Vale 3
· Dirty Clothing
· Frank Desalvo
· And When I Wake Up
· James Hackett (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar)
· Matthew Drummond (Guitar)
· John Scally (Guitar)
· Chris Quinn (Drums)
· TX - 09/04/1994
· Producer - Chris Maclean
· Engineer - Chrissie Boucher
· Studio - Maida Vale 4
· The Searching
· Patience Is Mine
· Waiting Seems Vain
· A Living Ken And Barbie (Back To Basics Mix)
· John Scally (Guitar)
· Matthew Drummond (Guitar)
· Ronnie Borland (Bass)
· James Hackett (Acoustic guitar, Vocals)
· Chris Quinn (Drums)
Special thanx to www.twee.net , http://home.clara.net/koogy/sarah/index.htm , http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/johnpeel/artists/t/theorchids/, Andreas, Jean-Bernard, http://www.siesta.es