The Orchids – Beatitude #9
The indie pop classicists return with their fifth album in an on-off, quarter century career. As with much of the smarter Scottish guitar pop that emerged in the late 80s, Beatitude #9 has a reflective, melancholy tone. Switched on but dialled down, it's lovingly understated and The Orchids, as ever, favour simple arrangements, rimshots and gently strummed guitars. The clipped grooves and whispered vocals of Someone Like You recall prime Belle and Sebastian.
They're as dreamy as they ever were on Your Heart Sends Me, the ringing guitars and blissful harmonies more Teenage Fanclub than, say, The Field Mice, the Sarah Records poster boys, seemingly forever mythologised as the exemplars of fey indie pop. Indeed, the hardcore have long argued that The Orchids, with their striving and longevity, are more deserving of that crown than their original label mates. On this new evidence, they have a point. [Gary Kaill]