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

Paul Weller: Saturns Pattern (Parlophone)

Paul Weller: Saturns Pattern (Parlophone)

You certainly have to give Paul Weller  a tip of the hat for his capacity at reinvention (the Jam, the Style Council, a lengthy and diverse solo career) and the energy he has put into it.... > Read more

Ken Nordine: Word Jazz; The Complete 1950s Recordings (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Ken Nordine: Word Jazz; The Complete 1950s Recordings (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Ken Nordine's voice -- assured, resonant, clear -- was his passport into radio where he worked as an announcer and narrator. But he was also of the Jazz Generation and in the Fifties he... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

NZ EPs by Shani.O

NZ EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases by New... > Read more

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more