ORB: Tailem Bend [Album Review]

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Tailem Bend
Fuzz Club Records [2024]

Album Overview: Tailem Bend is ORB’s fourth studio album, arriving six years after their last release, The Space Between. The album title symbolizes the record’s many dramatic twists and turns while maintaining a cohesive flow. The Australian trio, consisting of Zak Olsen, David Gravolin, and Jamie Harmer, reunited with producer Tim Dunn (who helmed several pre-ORB Frowning Clouds albums) for this project. Notably, half of the album was recorded as a trio and the other half as a quartet with guitarist Callum Shortal (The Murlocs). Tailem Bend fully showcases ORB’s evolution while staying true to their heavier roots, embracing a psychedelic jam path. Throughout the album, you will encounter a mix of brash riffing, sun-drenched psych-pop, rhythmic runs, and funky wah licks. The album also benefits from contributions by guest musicians, including Jesse Williams (Leah Senior, Girlatones, Baby Blue) on piano and backing vocals by Emma Bailey and Ashley Goodall, adding further depth and variety. Tailem Bend is a multifaceted album that rewards listeners with each play, offering both the familiar sounds ORB fans love and new, intriguing directions that will prompt deeper engagement.

Musical Style: The album showcases a mix of heavy blues, psych rock, and early metal influences. It balances dense, fuzz-laden passages with lighter, rhythmic segments and incorporates vintage warmth and depth. The use of various instruments and interludes adds to its eclectic sound and gives ORB an expanded fresh look.

Evolution of Sound: While ORB retains their characteristic heaviness in multiple doses, Tailem Bend introduces mellower sections and a greater emphasis on rhythm and spatial psych elements. The album’s structure allows for more instrumental interplay and a richer, more varied sound compared to their previous works. Fans who only show up for the metallic fierceness that drove all their early work will need a little adjustment time with Tailem Bend, but as modern psych music has evolved, so has ORB. There is also still plenty of metal riffs on here that will tear your speakers up!

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of modern psych bands like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, GOAT, and Kikagaku Moyo should appreciate ORB’s music. ORB also reaches back into the classic era with several early Pink Floyd and Can type moments plus Black Sabbath can still be a comparison.

Pivotal Tracks: The opening title track sets the tone with its mix of psych loops and heavy riffs. “Can’t Touch That” is an upbeat rocker that features a solid jam-like middle section before closing with big guitars. “You Do” is one of ORB’s newer-sounding tracks with upbeat mid-tempo riffs, lighter vocals, and Kikagaku Moyo rhythms that do not feel out of place within the flow of Tailem Bend. The album’s closing track, “Commandment,” stands out with its slower, more deliberate pace. The song evokes older ORB vibes with its ultra-heavy riffs that just simmer.

Lyrical Strength: The lyrics of Tailem Bend are intertwined with its musical explorations, often reflecting the band’s passage of time. The vocal contributions from Emma Bailey and Ashley Goodall also add depth and texture to the album’s overall delivery.

The Space Between (2018) / Naturality (2017)

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Christopher Anthony
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