Once again Orchid Mantis is back with another soul soothing album via Track & Field records. This shoegaze dream pop mix is the first release from them since 2015 with Mystery Zones which I thoroughly love still to this day. Released 30th December 2016 it was the best type of release to end the year with the single somewhere you’ve been before being release a couple days before the full record itself. Its true Orchid Mantis isn’t for everyone but anybody who doesn’t love this album I would confidently say is a fool. It’s such a personal little LP based on their time back in 2014 in an old friend’s house. The production of this LP was trigged by that house going up for sale. He said that ‘As I worked further on it throughout the year, it became deeply associated with my memories of that place’
The first track is called Fog. And to start with it does sound little like some sort of space age 70s Si-Fi sound effect but wait a couple of seconds and the vocals we know and love kick in. this also goes blissfully well with the drama and passion filled guitar parts used in this track to give it that extra oomph. Well as much oomph as a wavelength of hazy fog can create and generate. The slow melody carries you through a whole wisp of dream filled memories and nostalgia. Much like the title you get the feeling that although this album is all about memory the feeling of hazy or foggy memories is persistent in this track. Which I think is what makes it feel different.
Moving onto the single released, somewhere you’ve been before. This has to be one of my favourites purely because of how typically ‘Orchid Mantis’ it sounds. The theme of dreams and long gone adventures is very strong in this track. The way its sung is also a little clearer than typical tracks by this guy. You can just hear the passion and fulfilment that its giving him as an artist in the way he performs and plays. Yet the bedroom ‘homemade’ elements to the track still remain with peaceful oooohhh’s to take you away to his special place. This track is also one of the more toned down and relaxed tracks because everything has been brought down a speed. Much like when you play a 45” speed record at 33”. An unusual way to describe it but I love it.
Next up is track 5, leaving. I found it strange how this song isn’t titled something different as you would have thought a track with such a name like this would be at the end as a sort of finale. Yet the it yet again just works. The slowed down mellow sounding notes take you to the old piano in the house he spoke about in his inspirations for the album. You can read that by going to the Bandcamp account URL below. I found it helped me understand what the album was about and really fits this song well. In this case background knowledge is needed to be able to fully show your appreciation for this track. What I also adore about this track is the ponente uses of the piano. It just seems to slot in every now and then really giving the track a literal home like feel to it all.
To finish up todays small review is track 7 of 8, these things won’t happen again (time stands still). This track is considered an experimental pop track which seems to be one of the bigger hints along with the single released. The fact that its once again laid back but has an element of something missing to it makes this track all the more mysterious. It’s as if the change of losing the house has full taken its toll in a way. But yet it sounds sort of sounds like the pervious album hessdalen light which is again another perfect album worth listening to. What also makes this track what it is, is that its two songs mixed together to make something completely different and ‘out there’, which I feel is what Orchid Mantis has come to be for me as an avid listener.
Overall this album is full to the brim with nostalgia and is rapidly becoming another classic Orchid Mantis album in my eyes. The way the older and traditional style of making each record has been mixed with different methods makes me happy to see it all moving forward. It’s the same old tunes we know and love and that’s what fans like me know love and become ever so slightly attached to when it comes to this. It makes you feel instantly relaxed and reflective of the past which is such a beautiful feeling to have in times of need and stress.
Buy the album here: https://orchid-mantis.bandcamp.com/album/flashbulb-memory
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