Unpopular Advent 2014 - Day 21: The Orchids - 'Beatitude #9'
It is surely a reflection on my age and the accelerated speeding of time when I say it feels like only yesterday that I was excited not only to be writing sleeve notes for reissues of the three albums that The Orchids recorded for Sarah records, but also at the news that the group had reformed and were set to play, write and record again. To realise that in reality a decade has passed is frankly terrifying.
In that decade however I am delighted to say that The Orchids have released another three albums, the most recent of which was this years’ typically gorgeous ‘Beatitude #9’ for the Spanish Acuarela imprint. Infused with their trademark supple groove, on ‘Beatitude #9’ The Orchids again showed a remarkable ability to make deceptively soft, bittersweet records brimful of emotion and life. Listened to outside of the inescapable context of Sarah Records, one could certainly suggest that The Orchids always had the necessary skills to escape the Indie ghetto. Certainly ‘Beatitude #9’ sounded in places much more likely to appeal to fans of smooth, seductive, soulful dance music than to devotees of brittle, watered-down twee self-pity. But then in reality there were plenty of artists on the original Sarah roster who didn't fit that sterotype, and if the ‘From Hello To Goodbye’ exhibition (including the premiere of the ‘My Secret World’ film) in Bristol helped place some of the mediated myths within context then The Orchids’ live performance was a certainly a splendid highlight of a wonderful event.
‘Beatitude #9’ was peppered with gorgeous moments, including a lovely nod to the Lazy Perfection of their past with Pauline Hynds joining on the excellent ‘Good Words (Are Never Enough)’. Elsewhere the album was equally splendid, and from the shimmering, blissful ’Something’s Going On' though the neat sunburst pop shuffle of ‘The Coolest Thing’ to the mournful, Strands-like beauty of the album closing ‘We Made A Mess’, ‘Beatitude #9’ barely skipped a beat. Like a good single Malt whisky, ‘Beatitude #9’ proved to be an album to take your time over, an album to give oneself over to and to luxuriate in.