The Orielles Can’t Keep Their Fans in a Tableau
Written by Arlo Taylor Osmond Edited by Eve Moat
After 6 weeks on the road, The Orielles came home to Yorkshire for a cosy, intimate show at Brudenell Social Club that concluded their UK and EU tour. The experimental, genre-bending sounds of the Halifax trio evoked stank faces and swaying heads across the crowd for a blissful hour, delivering a mixture of psychedelic pop, post-disco punk and all their other sounds that elude categorisation.
The Yorkshire band have been gaining greater recognition from avant-garde fans worldwide since the release of their third full-length album, Tableau, in October 2022. They’ve achieved a great deal since their first gig at Brudenell on 28th October 2017, and they enter with an ease and a confidence that is aware of that. Sidonie B Hand-Halford settles into her drumkit as her sister, Esmé Dee Hand-Halford, picks up her bass guitar. The pair are followed by their fellow band member Henry Carlyle Wade, who immediately demonstrates his talent as a guitarist with some deep, moody strums as we’re immersed into the gloomy atmosphere of ‘To Offer, To Erase’.
Halfway through the tune, Sidonie B’s drumsticks take centre stage in a complex crashing of high hats and bass drums. However, her expertise are displayed better in the fast pace of ‘The Room’, next up on the set list. During this tune, I was enthralled by the interesting dynamic between Henry and Esme. Henry’s electric, energetic jamming in this dance track is satisfyingly balanced by the slick nonchalance of Esme’s playing. They have two different styles that each, in their own way, serve a function for the band and appealed to different members of the crowd.
Although the music of The Orielles is admiringly versatile, one consistency is their love for a tempo change in the middle of a song. This technique reaches new heights when seen live, carrying the audience to different emotions so quickly and with so much authority. Their performance of ‘Beam/s’ was a brilliant example of this. Audience members are raised from melancholic and dreamy shoegaze to a lively, upbeat grungy sound, before being lassoed right back to the former. This time, there are cinematic sounds of a violin that accompany Esme’s velvety vocals.
‘Television’ played with my emotions in the same way. Midway through the song, Sidonie B puts her heart and soul into a cathartic, chaotic crescendo on the drums that is heightened by a powerfully intense looping of Esme’s chorus. The band members suddenly change pace and style, without any visible difficulty, and seamlessly plunge the audience into a slow, uplifting environment of indie pop. Each masterful switch executed by The Orielles is accompanied by screams from the audience, who clearly enjoy being kept on their feet.
While it doesn’t appear to be their main priority, the band’s talent for weaving stories with words as well as instruments was shown in the moving, stripped down performance of ‘Stones’. Anchored by an acoustic guitar, it’s a confusing yet beguiling story that reflects the sisters’ alternative status as filmmakers (La Vita Olistica, 2020).
After hearing most of Tableau, the crowd recognises an old favourite from its first few guitar notes. Shrieks ensue for ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, their fourth ever release. At the song’s break, cheeky grins appear on the band members’ faces as people start to move fast, limbs flying with the funk of the bass. Hearing this tune after hearing Tableau is eye-opening though. Upon close listening, one can hear twinkles of innovation and even hints at a dissatisfaction with traditional song structure. Having hosted The Orielles multiple times since 2017, Brudenell has seen these twinkles develop into mature, brave, sophisticated ideas. It’s a pleasure to experience part of that journey.
The performance makes me wonder how such a talented, ambitious band can be so free from pretension. After a viciously creative performance of songs that make you question the very existence of genres, Henry concludes the show by saying “Thanks a lot chickens”, followed by a homely “Yorkshire” chant with the audience.
“We should do this more often” says Henry, with a charming grin on his face.
Tableau by The Orielles is available on all streaming platforms.