Some combinations sound weird, but actually work exceptionally well: peanut butter and jam, salt and caramel, cheese and onion crisps and chocolate (please, don’t question genius). Obviously all of these examples are culinary ones, which probably tells you just about all you need to know about how I’m doing right now, but I think the same principle applies for music – and Brighton band Orchards are a good example of how opposites can attract in your ears, as well as in your mouth.
Fronted by lyricist Lucy Evers, Orchards are a band whose sound can be described as twiddly, fiddly math-rock riffs chucked in a Nutribullet with the bombast and ambition of pop music. It’s sort of like if, say, Foals’ more indie-leaning material had a baby with Carly Rae Jepsen’s EMOTION: the outward musical precision is there, but it doesn’t take away from all the feeling – loss, ache, hope – that the vocals and melodies evoke.
To announce their signing to the beloved UK alt-rock label Big Scary Monsters, Orchards released single “Luv You 2,” earlier this month. It’s a big, sunny song, about “finding the power within yourself to say ‘Fuck it, I don’t care what you think of me, I know I’m amazing,’” and we're premiering its music video today (see it below). Made with videographer Dan Chase, the band say that the visual reflects the song’s message that “it’s totally healthy to feel rejection or sadness,” and culminates in a realisation that ends in liberation: “The throwing of the flowers at the end of the video symbolises me throwing away the fucks I used to give,” Lucy tells me.
This attitude feels in keeping with the positivity that the band’s material so far effortlessly conveys: when we chat over email, they refer to themselves as a “glittery gateway drug” more than once. It’s an interesting way of thinking about what they do, and originates from the band’s obviously diverse blend of musical backgrounds. From bassist Dan’s past work in the sludge metal band Iron Witch, to Lucy’s love of musical theatre, the band have a sprawling patchwork of influences, though they “come together” on bands like Everything Everything, Foals and Biffy Clyro.
Of those last three, guitarist Sam says that when Orchards began, “We started to notice that we all loved the weird aspects of these bands, but also how they had ridiculous top line melody tying all the strange together.” He elaborates: “We realised that this was where all our vastly different influences met, and we started producing the sound we do now. I’d say we blur the line between left-field music and mainstream pop pretty successfully and this is where the 'glittery gateway drug' notion comes from – no matter what you think you’re into, after coming to one of our parties you’ll leave with a more open mind.”
Widening the boundaries of sonic perception is a very noble mission, which could probably only be accomplished by making music as brazenly fun as Orchards do. Their enthusiasm is both unmistakable and welcome in guitar music (especially math-rock), which frequently takes itself far too seriously, and it looks like they’ll probably be pedalling their glittery noise somewhere close to you pretty soon. In the near future, Sam says, “We’re playing quite a few festivals like TRUCK, Hit The North and ArcTanGent as well as getting to Hungary for the first time. We’re just getting ourselves around basically – we want to play in front of as many people as we can. We want to get everyone involved in this party and see how big we can make it grow!”
With sounds this infectious, it seems pretty obvious to me that Orchards will soon be performing on much larger stages, throwing much bigger parties. And I hope I’m right, because as excited as they are for the ride ahead of them, they’re also keen to bring everyone possible along with them, creating a much-needed inclusive and accepting environment both in their songs, and at their live shows. As Sam puts it, “Our music is all about making people feel good and including everyone – we want people to dance their way into a good headspace and a good vibe, and as corny as that sounds, that’s what we hope to achieve with our weird pop tunes. We want our parties to be a safe and inclusive space for people to let loose and fucking enjoy themselves.”
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