Whether directly inspired by Michel Gondry’s film of the same name or not, Orphan’s debut release, Science of Sleep has several similar qualities. The movie is about a man entranced by his own dreams and unbounded imagination. He is lovestruck with a French lass and feels he is able to show her his world. The EP has had me entranced for several weeks now, and the boundless imagination and creativity of Jack Taylor and co. in this little gem are in plentiful supply, convincingly delivered in a solid and adventurous four track EP that grabs you, pulls you in and shakes you about like an empty NafNaf jacket in a late 80’s playground.
It is musically accomplished, skillfully written and one gets the distinct impression that the creation of this body of work has been a cathartic necessity for the writer. Essentially a striving for clarity through the investigation of less conscious thoughts. I think we can all relate to the feeling of waking from a dream that made perfect sense whilst amongst it, but is utterly surreal once we wake. This juxtaposition of the two worlds we spend our lives in is something very prevalent to me in this record upon listening and talking to Jack about his thoughts on the more surreal lyrical elements on display.
We are treated to touches of the punchiness of At The Drive In, and they manage to utilise just the perfect amount of both dissonance and tuneful harmony so as to make sure each is in perfect compliment of the other. In terms of production it is Lofi-esque yet sharp. When listening I am reminded of Pavement, Yurusei Yatsura, and Coheed and Cambria without feeling offended that they have ripped them off.
Like Gondry in film, there is definitely an emphasis on emotion, but without the immaturity. Some clever little uses of additional noise to those created by instruments provide a lovely little added dimension and for me confirm that it is no fluke that this debut release sounds like it has been crafted and moulded with great care. Furthermore, Jack has a pretty unique voice in as far as the current range of young Scottish unsigned guitar bands is concerned. When I first heard him I was kicked back to watching Paul Mullen fronting an old favorite of mine, yourcodenameis:milo. That is only going to go in their advantage, as we all know there certainly isn’t a shortage of competition at the minute with the same (very deliberately) Scottish accent floating around. Not that the Scottish thing is a bad thing, it is perhaps just becoming a bit of a ‘must tick’ box.
Simply said, I love this EP. It plays so well start to finish as a single body of music that I’m not going to single out any tracks. Just get it on and give it a go… and once you love it get to their next live show for the same fine cake, just with added cream and chocolate sauce too.
Review by Alistair Burton