Where other bands were playing up to cameras of the post-punk explosion of the early 80s, Blue Orchids were embracing the DIY sensibilities and Punk ethos without actually being consumed by the hype. Originally formed in 1979, with founding members Martin Bramah and Una Baines, Awefull is a compilation album of Blue Orchids singles and 12 inch EP tracks, released by Rough Trade, which includes two demo tracks from the early 80s.
Released in 2016, Awefull is an album which provides a glimpse into the band’s raw talent, their introspective narratives, subtle shifts and melancholic musings. It’s also an album which highlights the hedonistic influences and Blue Orchids’ duality of earthy grit and astral travelling into ethereal realms. Through their intermix of post-punk, neo-psychedelic, new wave, dark wave, neo-classical and baroque-rock, “Awefull”, is every Indie-kids collectors item, which has crossed over boundaries and whose tracks, have stood the test of time.
As a debut single, The Flood sets the tumultuous tone whose auditory distortions of muffled voices creates a haunting, chaotic and nostalgic delineation. It’s a rambunctious riot, an overflow of emotions, whose musical meanderings erratically loop, dip, zig-zag and flow in an underground wave of neo-psychedelic and garage rock. It’s through the unhinged vocals of Bramah that The Flood seizes its sanity and channels its angst. Through the duality of the crashing riffs, fuzzy farista and pitter-patter beats,The Flood feels like you are taking a trip on a Lysergic log flume, with your hands bravely gripped in anticipation of the chute and surreal splash-down.
Disney Boys runs riot during the fun time hour, in a zany, unhinged, screwball mesh of neo-psychedelic post-punk. Through the quivering, scatty, circus synths and crazed vocals of Bramah, Disney Boys is a law to itself, caught up in a surreal, acrobatic, cartoonish escapade. It’s a great track, which reverberates deliriously in a wave of head-spinning mayhem.
Through the zany-synths, eclectic riffs and shuffle beats, Work space-hops into an art-pop aesthetic likened to the B52s. Along with the succinct chorus and overlapping vocals, Work commands and makes you listen to the gritty themes of life. Its post-punk poetry, whose semi-Sprechgesang delivery, grabs by the jugular and stage-dives into the pits of hell.
The House That Faded Out
The House That Faded Out stomps like a bear with a sore head trapped in a bedsit. It’s a stoned sex pistols b-side, whose disjointed synths zig-zag in a bubble of delusional discord. It’s a great track, whose vocal delivery of Bramah rants from the rooftops in a downpour of angst and frustration. Along with the scatty, sliding riffs, The Houses That Faded Out wahs and reverberates in a hazy daze of psych-post-punk pandemonium.
The Unknown (Demo)
The Unknown (Demo) wallows in murky melancholy, delving deep into Delphian depths. Through the fusion of dark wave and shoegazing riffs, The Unknown (Demo) synchronises like fireflies, emitting light through the crepuscular skies, aside the off-kilter, soaring synths. It’s a perplexing track, whose jangle riffs, plodding bass and rumbling beats make a subtle crossover onto the radius of Punk Funk, likened to A Certain Ratio, reinforcing their underground appeal. Through the obscure lyrics and sullen vocals of Bramah, The Unknown (Demo) embraces the percolating presence and dark sentiments of the track, whilst transcending all things mysterious.
Agents of Change
Agents of Change is an inebriated gospel song, that nonchalantly congregates into its new-wave place of worship, long before the Happy Mondays sang hallelujah. Through the sturdy strums, Hammond-esque synths and choir-esque backing vocals, Agent of Change evokes a sense of spiritual awakening, interpolated by the singing sermon. Along with the rumbling beats, synchronised synths, curving twangs and flashes of percussion, Agents of Change stays true to its post-punk origins, whilst having a few epiphany moments along the way.
Conscience is a hauntingly beautiful track, whose baroque backdrop of piano and violins creates a dark wave of post-punk steeped in neo-classical and ethereal goth-rock. Through the stripped down acoustics and heartfelt lyrics, Conscience reveals its vulnerability, whilst drifting through the moon mist ambience. Along with the raw vocals, Conscience wears its heart on its sleeve whilst weeping from the soul.
What could be a love child of Leonard Cohen, Release is drenched with dreamy romanticism and nocturnal escapism. Through the velvet tones of Bramah’s crooning, Release glides and glistens under a sapphire sky, whilst being guided by the heavenly harmonies. Along with translucent tones and looping riffs, Release resides in the archives of neo-classical rock, dark-wave, baroque rock whilst roaming through the beatnik beats.
The Long Night Out
Lurking in the nebulous corners of the nights, The Long Night Out jangles in new wave, goth-rock, sharing the same DNA as Keats, Byron and Shelly. It’s dark romanticism personified, whose lovelorn lyrics and melancholic vocals are etched and engraved in sorrow. A master of conveying seething and heartfelt emotions, it’s through the skill and yearnings of Bramah’s vocals that The Long Night Out’s sentiments are amplified and create a melodramatic motif.
Sleepy Town (Demo)
Sleepy Town (Demo) is a new wave, post-punk track, whose stomping riff, prowls single-minded in the early hours, amongst the owls, bats and everything that goes bump in the night. It’s a track whose brooding bass flutter synths and shuffle beats, indicates the band embracing a more polished synth-pop production, which is testament to the band’s diversity and experimental sound. Along with the surf, jagged and animated riffs, Sleepy Town (Demo) flirts towards a Psychobilly pathway, but without any need to make any firm commitment.