Orchestra of Spheres are a motley band of New Zealand psychedelics with a love for vibrant costumes that you can somehow hear in the music. Brothers And Sisters Of The Black Lagoon sees them continue their third-eye journey, although never losing their grounding in limber grooves. Out on the Fire label.
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They’ve got a good name, have these psychedelic bait ‘n’ switchers: their sound, both full-sounding and cyclical, has all the qualities necessary to an Orchestra of Spheres. “What a terrible lede, Robin”, you might retort, but hey, shut up: this is a good record and I want you to know that ASAP. With a sound as democratic and overt about its collaboration as post-punkers Shopping, and the kind of dynamic but rhythmically strict sound that defines Melt Yourself Down, this crew make songs that keep their hooks at arms length while inventing new ways to get you to give a shit about them. And I do indeed somewhat give a shit about 'Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon'.
It starts with ideal litmus test “Trapdoors”, whose sparse framework of loopy guitar riffs and exchanged vocal smirks receives healthy and incremental doses of energy. It trips into the duck-squelching synth of “”Walking Through Walls”, which plays alongside a lovely looped beat ‘til the band get ready to harmonise with a robotic clumsiness -- their vocal melodies sound on-point and then awkwardly get too verbose, too cluttered with conversation, making for a happy accident amongst what sounds like a very codified pop song.
Just enjoy yourselves, alright? You’ll barely notice they're psychedelic, but for the wahing ‘n’ wobbling guitar figure that eventually distorts through the growth of “Anklung Song”; most of the time you’ll just be enjoying watching them try and place themselves in the showy build-ups, sparse post-punk filibusters and strange atmospheres they’ve developed. Like how they wade through the pastoral ambience “The Reel World” to create a fuzzy psych rock waltz to hum about in forever. Or how the weirdly reverent neo-folk baritone of "Cluster" eventually gets turned on its head with a wonky-as-fuck guitar freakout. It's a mess out there! My advice: keep... watching... the skies?
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