(New Album Review) Orchards- Division//Loss [EP]

This next submission comes from Salem: Divison//Loss, is the debut release from Orchards. Orchards are cellist Jacob Zeigler, guitarist and vocalist Daniel Remington, guitarist Kelly Klippel, drummer Alex Geiszler, and bassist Patrick O’Driscoll. Right off the bat I can see the hints of a highly original future for this band.

Though they describe themselves as “indie”, they are anything but at all similar to the seemingly endless procession of well-intentioned bands that fashion themselves after Radiohead, Modest Mouse, and now Alt-J. Orchards make downtempo rock that is hard to pin down stylistically– Zeigler, Remington, and Klippel create figures that will be instantly familiar to fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Dirty Three…lots of consonance and melancholy repetition, the kind that we typically expect of slowcore and post-rock. However, Orchards are by no means a jammy post-rock band. Orchards make downtempo, pensive rock ballads, and they cite the influence of the darkwave bands of the 80s as being particularly important to them. However, unlike those bands from the past, they lay off the reverb, and Remington’s pipes make a sound that’s tremulous and vulnerable, rather than the baritone mating call of a mystery man. In fact, the strongest point of Orchards’s sound lies in Remington’s soulfully sad vocals, which, in the context of the group’s overall sound, occasionally remind me a little of Stephen Immerwahr, yet for some reason hint at something there, as yet obscured (though you can see some of it on the refrain of “The Vulture”), that’s a bit more dramatic and emotionally exposed that doesn’t quite fit with the wandering arrangements. It is for this reason that I feel as though Orchards are a group with a sound that’s in transit– it hasn’t quite come into fruition, but they’ve already got something good here. They will be recording a new record this next month, and I’m sure that the dark, dramatic music that’s partially obscured now will come to seed then.

Looking into this band’s craftsmanship, you can see the beginning of a funerary rock group with a highly original style, and perhaps another great album to come out of this city on the horizon. Orchards are in need of putting a little more force behind their music, for I feel as though they occasionally end up sounding like a somewhat unexciting slowcore group without meaning to. However, what can be said is that they should not stop sounding down-to-earth and organic…they aren’t copying anyone, and that’s what’s important. Here’s to Orchard, another new voice from Oregon that I look forward to hearing more from.

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