orchidThis E.P. came my way just as the heatwave rolled over the UK and, really, you couldn’t have more apt timing: Whether they are treading their more doom lit path with their seventies style take on global realpolitik, indulging in their occult intrigues or shaking their Sabbath-at-a-party hips ‘n’ heads to their tambourines, there is something so deliciously warm and sunny about the Orchid sound. Just like their namesake flower they can be delicate, intensely vibrant of colour and simply thrive in hot close festival days.

They also work beautifully on the E.P. format too, as I hope a taster for the third full length, and so here they offer four skilfully and soulfully crafted songs. They let us in with the superb ‘Helicopters’, a dark and bitter slow slide through flashpoint war and the fallout on the innocent that is as brooding and insistent as the sound of ominous blades circling overhead. There’s no real change to the Orchid sound here, just maybe a little more edge to the great vocals and their usual attention to the song-writing craft, a familiarity of sound but new, fresh songs. Then we get the up-tempo bounce and groove of ‘John The Tiger ‘; a great production lets every instrument breathe, the bass lines coming through beautifully without swamping everything and a certain delicacy retained despite the big, fuzzed riff. The title track is a typically glorious tambourine-and-maracas-out-riff-party: Neat drumming kicking the warm guitar riff deep into the groove and filling your shoes with itching powder. ‘Strange Winds’ is the chill out track; slow, quiet and on the kind of nod you’d expect from Sleep. A lovely way to end the party.

Yeah, it’s Orchid. Still at the top of their game, still the grooviest bunch of seventies inspired rockers around and any band who describes military helicopters as ‘blackened swans of sorrow’ is fine in my book. Whatever comes next, this is by itself an essential summer purchase. Lovely.

(8.5/10 Gizmo)