Orchestra of Spheres: Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon (Fire)

 |   |  <1 min read

Rocket #9
Orchestra of Spheres: Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon (Fire)

This quirky Wellington ensemble have been prolific on the recording front, toured extensively (China, Scandinavia, Europe and the US) and now find themselves on the estimable Fire Records out of the UK, the people behind excellent reissues like the Pere Ubu box sets and the complete JPSE, as well as the excellent new Chills album Silver Bullets.

Let it be said there are no planetary alignments between any of that music, and OofS sit in an even further-out orbit.

Previously their twitchy funk-lite sound brought to mind the Feelies and the B52s as reimagined through cheap electronica, and there was a scattering of Afrobeat and Asian sounds in the mix.

This time out their retro-psychedelica-cum-spacerock (with those other reference points largely intact, plus a bit more Krautrock motorik) sounds even more stateless and designed to function in clubs and on the festival circuit where the relentless grooves (and presumably their dress-up box stage attire) can get them some real traction.

But over the 11 songs there is frequently more surface than substance, and as before they remain weak in the vocal department (speak-chant is no substitute for actually singing over the duration) which means terrific pieces like the churning Anklung Song (an instrumental) and the more ambitiously psychedelic but toned down miniature Reel World are left to do the persuading.

There's an undeniable pool of talent at the core of Orchestra of Spheres but it seems to be taking a long time to distil it into convincing evidence across a whole album.

Patchy, again. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

As regular visitors to Elsewhere are aware, not everything posted here is a work of unalloyed genius which will be treasured down many lifetimes. (Although there are however more than a few like... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rarest Rockabilly Album in the World Ever! (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: The Rarest Rockabilly Album in the World Ever! (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

As with the blues, rockabilly is always out there, but only occasionally gets its time in the spotlight when artists such as the revivalist Stray Cats or -- more recently -- the great original... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Milva: Chi Mai (1972)

Milva: Chi Mai (1972)

On November 10, 2016, the great Italian  composer Ennio Morricone will be 88 and celebrating the day with his wife of 50 years. Both of those are remarkable achievements, and so is the... > Read more

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette (2006)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette (2006)

If nothing else, you had to raise a smile at the nom-de-disque which American singer-songwriter Owen Ashworth adopted. It announces its lo-fi quality, and identifies its audience at the same time.... > Read more