Disco Volador is the follow-up to The Orielles‘ simple but lovely debut album Silver Dollar Moment, and it shows the band in a state of mild experimentation. Across its 40-odd minute runtime, you’re given a pleasant but rather placid showcase of sounds that The Orielles have been influenced by this time around (out with the Stone Roses, in with Stereolab), but you’ll often find that it’s lacking in the vibrancy and kick of the original flavours that The Orielles seek to draw from.
Check out the super-phase sci-fi craziness of second track Rapid i, which splits the difference between imperial era Stereolab and slack-jawed early Blur with buoyant but mild results. Memoirs Of Miso conjures Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, but the versions you’d remember of them if you’d only heard them once on the radio thirty years ago. Bobbi’s Second World injects a bit of rhythm into the mire, but ultimately the track goes nowhere.
Whilst The Flowers Look benefits from its proximity to Stereolab’s space chanson sound, and Euro Borealis adds a little Latin flavour to the mix. Both are good tunes, but the final track, Space Samba, is the highlight of the set, owing to its completely bonkers palette. It’s by far the most engaging track because it’s easily the most adventurous.
But it just won’t do to have a band this young be this bereft of ideas. Surely, amongst all of the tracks left on the cutting room floor – presuming and hoping that there were some – there remains a sniff of a hint of an original idea. That’s not to say that reliance on influences is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that The Orielles struggle to stamp their own identity on them, and so their second album ends up suffering from the same deficiencies that the debut did.
Disco Volador would, should and could have been a far superior record if only somebody had said no the first time they submitted it. But it beggars belief that any single record by Stereolab sounds much fresher than this album, despite the majority of them being made before these people were out of nursery. What we all need is a great new rock band that draws on a forgotten corner of the music of yore, and The Orielles definitely could be that band – but there’s nothing here that will make you put away your old records just yet.