SXSW Review: The Orielles, March 18, The Courtyard

The Orielles

Connecting instrumentals with lyrical singing is not always simple. The Orielles are an interesting band in their apparent lack of attempt to blend these two components. The instrumental aspect, particularly the synth, is the mainstay, but the singing is dosed in and used as an instrument. There is a free-wheeling carefreeness to the way the vocals are delivered.

Since the voice does not need to hold up a melody, there’s no need to be pitch perfect nor sustain long lyrical meanings. And with that restriction gone, segments of seemingly unrelated music can be organically stitched to flow into each other.

The Orielles’ previous LP La Vita Olistica had encased this style in an indie capsule. The latest full length album, Tableau, released in October 2022, has taken a more multi-directional approach. Seeing them at the BBC Introducing showcase at The Courtyard at night was also a plus. Their music lends itself well to a laid-back mysterious vibe, and with the fog machines working overtime, you were hard pressed to get a clear shot of the trio anyway.

Clearly not the energetic and ostentatious type, they let the music do most of the merrymaking. But they love to change up tempo and style mid-way through – songs like “Beam/s” have interludes that are more aggressive and memorable than the 4 minutes preceding, and others like “Airtight” or “The Room” are so different that your brain figures it must be simple beneath it all – something like applying one recipe to ingredients from different genres. Regardless, the results are far from the typical connotation of “experimental” – refreshingly good across the spectrum and hard to pin down.

Or maybe that’s the secret? Who said only rabbits can be stewed, and not eggnog, turkey, chocolate, and candy canes? And why not together?

Posted on by Gary in South By Southwest