Sleeping Orchard – II review

Words: Aaron Connelley

Sleeping Orchard – a three piece band who tag themselves as having a rockabilly / psychedelic sound – have recently released their second E.P named ‘II.’ My first impressions from the cover art was that I was about to listen to a set of slightly amateur recordings with good taste, but thankfully all songs were pretty well recorded and lacking amateurism. The four short tracks included on this E.P pack a lot to listen to, especially for a three piece band!

The first song, entitled Landing Party 2.0, shows a wide range of sounds that I expected to hear periodically throughout the rest of the tracks. The rock ‘n’ roll elements could be heard instantly with an awesome bass line, the shuffle rhythm on the drums and harmonica fills; the harmonica fills were the highlight for me. The levelling of the song seems a little out, as there are times when the vocals are drowned out by the guitars, all of which seem to dominate the sound, distracting me from that beautiful harmonica. I question the need for the distortion on the guitars in this track; perhaps a lower level of gain would benefit this piece and not draw away from the psychedelic element. In addition to the harmonica, the band uses beautiful harmonies, an element which is used through all four tracks.

The second and third songs, I Hope I’m Going Somewhere and They’ve Got the City Surrounded, are more laid back than the first song, featuring a different instrumental line up. Sadly, the band opted to replace the harmonica with an organ. Although the second song is more laboured, which feels wrong to me, the band get in full swing by the third song and the music is more relaxed and easier to listen to, which is a shame as there are only four songs in the whole set. Despite the duration of these songs being quite long already, I wanted them both to be much longer because I enjoyed them so much! The third song brings back the psychedelic mood, but doesn’t become so experimental that I feel like I should be sitting alone in a white room to deeply ponder the art of music while I’m listening to it.

The final song, Map of the World, is, again, chilled out and has more of a Latin mood. The instruments all sound brilliant and the use of two part harmony sounds beautiful. However it’s the lead guitar makes the piece brilliant. The licks that are used are perfect; I just wish that the song was longer! The piece ends much sooner than you’d expect, which is a shame since all of the songs, including this one, are so beautiful.

Overall this is wonderful E.P by the band and is perfect for someone who wants to chill out, but the levelling towards the beginning is a little off and feels slightly amateur. Anyone who likes U2, Stevie Ray Vaughn or The Doors will fall instantly in love with this band. However, this band is only a 3 piece and so the amount of instruments used on the tracks make me think that they wouldn’t be worth hearing live, however I’ve never seen these guys live so I wouldn’t know.

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