Album Review: The Orielles – Silver Dollar Moment

Tripping through an abundance of influences and spitting out an eclectic collection of certified hits, Halifax 3-piece The Orielles write their own unique groove. Silver Dollar Moment sees them shed their surf-pop label for good and ride a wave of innovative genre bending. A youthful abandon runs through it all – wide-eyed wonder sees them liberally sprinkling tracks with synths and bongos and repeatedly flipping the script on the listeners with unexpected time signature switch-ups. Reanimating indie-rock’s bloated corpse is a task only a group armed to the teeth with creativity and confidence could carry out. The Orielles make it look easy.

The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment artwork

The band flit through countless ideas and it’s impossible to register them all in one listen. ‘Liminal Spaces’ is a waltz through lounge music, twinkling keys pleading to soundtrack the last dance at a teenage prom; ‘Old Stuff, New Glass’ is an electric bass-led, psych-tinged race through spiralling melodies and twisted guitar lines. Slower tracks such as ‘Sunflower Seeds’ bring much-needed respite to the fizzing adventure that the band are determined to lead us on whilst pacier cuts find the band tugging at our sleeves and dragging us down the rabbit hole. Album closer ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ is another making use of their trademark smash-and-grab approach to genre: an ode to disco through the scuzzy filter of garage rock, sweetened with steelpan, samba rhythms and saccharine harmonies.

It’s on the slower tracks (‘48 Percent’, ‘Borrachero Tree’) that holes occasionally show through their patchwork, vignette-style lyrics. While alluringly intriguing elsewhere, audience attention is left to drift on steadier numbers which lack the engaging innovation of the album’s strongest cuts. The fresh-faced bravado very rarely evolves into precocious language or feeble commentary, but they still stumble through words like ‘inherently’ and ‘trajectory’ in ‘Old Stuff, New Stuff’ and titling a song ‘48 Percent’ seems an unnecessary, random stab at the political. As lyricists, they work best in the abstract and falter when they reach for more significant themes.

If a pedantic complaint of personal taste is the only worth noting, it’s clear that Silver Dollar Moment is a winning album. Shamelessly sprinting through their heroes’ back garden and twisting their pickings into quirky curveballs, the band are ingeniously crafty and deliciously deceptive. It carefully catches a sense of spirited recklessness found only in the victorious, last thralls of innocence and after hiding on the fringes of indie for years, it’s finally time to champion the new leaders of the pack. Expect the Orielles to top a lot of lists come the end of 2018: less silver, more gold.