Well… at least one German loves The Orchid enough to review our two most recent albums. But first…
Many of you know I play guitar in an instrumental post-rock band—The Orchid—here in DC. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve no doubt seen me sharing our music, events, and photos. The band’s been a big part of my life for the past eight years and is one of many ways I stay creative outside of work. In our time together as a band, we’ve recorded and released two EPs and two full-length albums available for streaming and purchasing on Bandcamp.
Our most recent album, Apogee, Perigee, features six songs exploring the theme of isolation:
From the massive, three-guitar assault of album opener, The Astronaut (Escape Velocity), to the haunting, suffocating sparseness of the closing Life in Retrograde, the album weaves together influences ranging from Morricone’s Spaghetti Western soundscapes to DC-infused punk and math rock. The album moves effortlessly from crushing rhythms to delicate, intertwined arpeggiated guitars—often within a single song.
This is a very personal record for me and one that I’m excited to have completed and available for the world to enjoy. We’ve so far received positive reviews from friends and fans here in our native land, but the album’s first review comes to us all the way from Germany!
German-language music website Gezeitenstrom recently published a review of Apogee, Perigee. Being in no way fluent in German, I turned to my friends Jeremy and Jessica and asked for help translating the review. Jessica works as a freelance German translator and very kindly agreed to help translate the review’s text. Seriously, Jessica is a fantastic translator and an all-around wonderful person, so if you find yourself needing translation services, check out her website, lostintranslation.com.
I’m grateful to Jessica for her time and expertise and to Gezeitenstrom’s publisher André for enjoying our music enough to write up the following review, republished here in English:
An acoustic essay about isolation.
What makes The Orchid particularly intriguing is that every few years they reemerge with an album which sets high standards in terms of creativity and inspiration. Four years back, the band made a big impression here on Gezeitenstrom with its post-rock work “Beyond the Vast, Endless Sea.” The Americans went quiet again after that—until now. They’ve used this time to evolve, as can be heard clearly on their new album “Apogee, Perigee”.
While they were still creating shoegaze-heavy post-rock on their previous album, The Orchid is now sailing more frequently into acoustically experimental waters. The album “Apogee, Perigee” also follows a concept: it explores the subject of isolation. This emotional theme is conceptualized very differently in all six songs and The Orchid interpret it in a very comprehensive way.
In this album’s sound structures, modern post-rock increasingly gives way to influences from math and art rock, but it never disappears entirely. This combination of energetic walls of guitar and dynamic shifts in tempo and intensity very vividly conveys the band’s creative process. Even classical instruments such as cello and violin have been included, giving individual songs an expressionistic touch.
One very good example of this is the song “A City of Plaster.” Classical instruments are used here to very quietly and sedately capture an atmosphere of loneliness. Isolation has many different facets for The Orchid, an aspect explored in songs such as “The Astronaut” and “Decompressor/The Last Dive.” Guitars are used very intelligently as emotional connectors in these spheres of sound, and their message is revealed through magnificent arpeggios.
For fans of traditional post-rock, The Orchid have “My Affinity is Fire” up their sleeve, a piece that stands somewhat apart from the rest of the album with its catchy soundscapes and dynamic changes. Another very appealing song is the quiet “Life in Retrograde,” which very successfully interlaces elements of alternative rock with aspects of the post-genre and even ambient music.
On the whole, “Apogee, Perigee” is a very big step forward for the career of the five Americans. The album thoroughly succeeds in breaking out of familiar schemas and forging new paths. The Orchid deserves a good deal of respect for the courage to do this. They’ve gone in a new direction which has been implemented nearly perfectly, both acoustically and technically. Fans of experimental rock will certainly enjoy the new album.
Streaming and purchasing options are available on Bandcamp.