The Orchids Lyceum / Unholy Soul / Striving for the Lazy Perfection

If ever a band needed their back catalogue to be reissued, it is Glasgow’s the Orchids. Though they never managed to move out of the shadow of other Sarah Records bands like the Field Mice and the Sea Urchins, they evolved over the years in a much more dignified fashion than their contemporaries. The Orchids brought together all the best parts of the ’80s Scottish music scene, a wonderful mix of Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, the Pastels and their ilk, whilst adding something that is very hard to pin down, yet made them so very special. Their earliest days are documented on Lyceum, which includes the eight-track mini-album from 1989 and is rounded out by the band’s first four singles. At this time, everything the band recorded sounded so very fragile, like even the lightest breeze could make it all fall apart. The Orchids kept going with increasing confidence and made their masterpiece Unholy Soul in 1991. This was their first proper album and it found the band experimenting with more electronic beats and dance rhythms, much like Primal Scream were doing at around the same time. The band’s swan song came with their second album, 1994’s Striving for the Lazy Perfection, which found them moving further along the path they were already traversing. There was a greater dependence on the studio to create their sound, but it also helped sound more eclectic than they ever had before. All three CDs feature bonus tracks from the band’s various singles and considering that every single song the band recorded is a gem, this is not simply a case of filling up space. The band reunited late last year and are talking about both touring and recording — we’ll see if it can live up to the high standards of their glory days. (LTM)