Following their self-directed film La Vita Olistica, The Orielles bounce back with their highly anticipated forth album, Tableau. The glossy trio from Halifax self-produce an eerie 16-track record, with the help of Joel Anthony Patchett, full of cosmic eccentricity that brings a contemporary feel to their discography.
‘Chromo I’ introduces the album. A one minute taster which sounds like a helicopter or machine grounding to a halt in the middle of a rainforest. It immediately leads us to expect an album unlike their shiny hits of the past, ‘Sunflower Seeds’ and ‘Bobby’s Second World’, one which holds a confident obscureness as they venture into a new realm of musical discovery.
The soft, heavy vocals reminiscent in The Orielles’ previous records help to tie each song together, whist the instruments and samples steer off in other directions. Strings, guitars, and heavily produced samples are worked in and out of tracks including ‘Chromo II’ suggesting that what The Orielles do best in Tableau is their ability to intertwine different genres into their songs, hopping from indie, electronic, funk, and R&B. This creates a melodrama of sounds which adds to the slightly daunting atmosphere of the album. Some may find Tableau too busy, with a lack of musical direction. I would disagree and argue that the contrast of genres just makes you want to dive deeper into the album.
In an interview with Yorkshire Evening Post, The Orielles note that they are influenced by European films and surrealism. This is certainly reflected in the album’s title – a tableau representing a picture or a scene. The colourful influences of The Orielles’ help develop the psychedelic instrumentation present throughout the album. For example, the end of ‘Chormo II’ and the transition into ‘Airtight’ reminds me of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ – an eerie, celestial contribution to the alternative scene. Their pre-released singles, ‘Beam/s’ and ‘The Room’ suggest a musical maturity and experimentation – with the album transitioning from dance and electronic sounds to softer ballads. ‘Some Day Later’ is a more emotional, ballad piece where the vocals and electric guitar, packed with reverb, help develop a more intense atmosphere. ‘Darkened Corners’ is definitely a softer indie sound, with a clearer melody and clean guitar patterns.
The Orielles draw Tableau to a close with a passage of spoken word (‘Stones’) accompanied by a soft acoustic guitar. The song concludes with “Sometimes you have to leave people behind to find them, reads the fortune”. A classy, sophisticated way to end an album, typical of The Orielles.