Album Reviews

The Orchids: Who Needs Tomorrow…A 30 Year Retrospective (Cherry Red)

Glasgow’s The Orchids were one of the flagship bands of the esteemed and legendary indiepop label Sarah Records, and it’s easy to understand why; their sound was gentle, sensitive, and intelligent; they could craft a pop tune with a bit of jangle and a dose of charm. Who Needs Tomorrow… is a two-disc greatest hits and rarities collection that serves the band’s legacy quite well.

When signed to Sarah, the label had yet to release a single record; their debut EP, I’ve Got A Habit, was the label’s second release. “Apologies” practically defined the Sarah and indiepop aesthetic; jangly, ramshackle guitars, harmonies that hearken to the 60s, and a vocalist who could make up for any vocal weaknesses with a heaping dose of sincerity. Rightly or wrongly, a style was borne, and it was borne from The Orchids. By the time of their second EP, Underneath The Window, the band had matured; keyboards were entering the picture, and their sound was becoming more complex and interesting; over their next three albums and a handful of singles, they turned out songs that were gorgeous in their simplicity (“Long Drawn Sunday Night”) occasionally psychedelic (“Something For The Longing”), while also contriving their own pop sound (“Peaches,” “It’s Only Obvious”). Sadly, like many of their Sarah Records label mates, they didn’t survive Sarah’s shuttering. A pity, as songs like “Obsession #1” and “Striving For The Lazy Perfection” found them shuttering the jangle pop of their early days for a more sophisticated sound.

Fortunately, a reissue of their three Sarah Records releases in 2005 renewed interest in the band; a reunion in 2007 resulted in a welcome comeback album, Good To Be A Stranger, which featured the catchy “Another Saturday Night.” In 2010, they returned with The Lost Star, a lush, sedate pop record with numbers such as “She’s My Girl,” “The Way That You Move,” and “The Girl And The Soldier” being as strong—if not stronger—than their Sarah Records material. In 2014, they’d release a new album, Beatitude #9, which found the band in a more mellow, melancholic mood, blending their sound with more electronic, atmospheric elements. This collection also offers up a second disc of choice rarities, including demos, radio sessions, covers, and a brand new rerecording of their Sarah classic, “Underneath The Window, Underneath The Sink.”

While many bands of this era came and went and didn’t have much to offer aside from reinforcing the indiepop stereotypes, The Orchids transcended the “twee” label and the Sarah Records affiliation, and are continuing to make some truly great records. Who Needs Tomorrow… serves as a fantastic collection for a band that made some of the finest records of the genre.

 

Who Needs Tomorrow…A 30 Year Retrospective is available now from Cherry Red.

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