Empty Orchestra, the debut album from West Yorkshire four-piece Adore//Repel was released on 14th April, here’s our review of this sublime piece of work.
I remember when I first started this blog and Adore//Repel were one of the first bands to contact me with some exciting news about an independent label and the ambition they had; I was in no doubt then that this debut album was going to be something very different and very special. Incredibly, in 2016 the band booked (independently) two full UK tours selling every piece of merchandise they took with them, played a number of festivals and were recognised by BBC introducing. Not bad for a bunch of guys making their own way in the difficult music industry.
After the first listen of Empty Orchestra I realise one thing; the bands ambition isn’t just in their heads and hearts, it really comes out in their music. Adore//Repel have created a record that speaks to so many people on various levels and is quite beautiful when listened to as a whole. People say it time and time again but every track is wonderfully crafted in the bands special way and I don’t believe anybody is doing what this band are doing right now across the entire industry.
The 48 second opener INTRO gets listeners in completely the right frame of mind for the rest of the album, mellowing, calming, forget about the rest of the world type music. MONTHS AGO and STICKS IN THE CROW are tracks that are so noticeably “indie” (as today’s market would describe it) but they are much more subtle. MONTHS AGO is filled with catchy riffs, but delivered in a way that makes you appreciate the guitar work whilst STICKS IN THE CROW is an intricate delight for the ears with so many layers of high quality tracking. It’s clear by the end of track three you’re not going to hear much vocal on this record and I like that; too much music nowadays is focussed on the lead singer, the ego of the band, Adore//Repel let their music talk which is great.
JIM HELWIG brings the drumming alive. Crashing, thundering drums are the focus and the melody from the lead guitar complements what is ultimately a drum track very well. In the press release, // is described as having remnants of The Stone Roses which I was sceptical about at first being one of the UK’s finest ever acts. But..as the song kicks in, they’re the only band that spring to mind. To me, this track is a culmination of both of the Roses’ albums and Adore // Repel are making the instrumental music that the Roses maybe should have focussed on more in the 90s. I thought they’d do well to top this track to be frank, but SECRET ROAD PART II blew me away.
The highlight of the record spends two minutes building in sound, building in layers to the point of breaking. I can imagine this band playing live, eyes closed, lost in the music and that’s what I really love about this track. It feels natural, organic and when it fades at around the 2:30 mark I had my first goosebumps. Reminding me of the quality of Lonely the Brave coupled with the suspense of Foals, you knew the track was going to explode, it was just a matter of when. It builds, it grows and the complementary vocal comes in at the perfect time – this song is a marvel, an epic, a stunning piece of music.
The last few tracks at first didn’t feel like they belonged on this record to me. ORCA starts similarly to all the other songs, building slowly with lead guitar and a chunky bass line, ORCA erupts in vocal aggression and passion about halfway through and it feels like Adore // Repel have been possessed. It’s a raw, emotional track that after listening to the record as a whole I realised it’s place and is now one of my favourite tracks from the album. EMPTY ORCHESTRA closes the whole thing off with absolute perfection, enough said on that!
It’s not often I listen to instrumental music and want to listen to it again and again, Adore//Repel have culled those thoughts and this is one of my favourite records of 2017 so far. It’s understated, underrated and this band will be one to watch in the coming years. They’re distinct, different to the industry, but have a few magical touches that simply cannot go unnoticed for much longer.
Pick up a copy of the album via download or vinyl right here –> https://adorerepel.bandcamp.com/