With first place prize in the folk category of the USA Songwriting Competition, and a showcase at this year’s South By Southwest, Boston based acoustic duo Orly, has certainly been making their mark. Released in August of 2011, their self-titled debut album reveals what all the fuss is about.
This isn’t an album to skip or skim through. “My Oh My” is proof of that. This is a multi-dimensional song, full of dynamics, including tempo changes. What a strong starter for a folk album. It immediately raised my expectations.
The song is followed by the cinematic and emotional “Boy on a hill”, and then “Options”, a short and quirky tune that surprised me with a horn section towards the end. Very nice touch. It’s just another example of the duo’s musical depth and repertoire.
In terms of length, the album still feels like a full-length rather than an EP, weighing in at only nine songs. But they are nine very good songs. No fillers here, so I can’t knock points off for its brevity, though I do wish it were longer.
I always give the disclaimer when reviewing a folk album, that I’m a self-proclaimed sucker for singer-songwriter music. But being such, I can easily spot the difference between good and great. And maybe it’s premature of me to say, but Orly has crossed over the threshold into greatness. They are uncompromising artists, creating a musical world, listeners will find hard to escape from.
Whether it’s the offbeat drums and jazz-like bass playing in “Where did it all go”, the eerie piano of “The Earth”, or simply the lead singer’s beautiful and haunting voice seducing you to listen to more and more, Orly’s self-titled debut is a hit. Again, a little on the short side, but I highly recommend it. Fans of Feist, Angus and Julia Stone, Iron and Wine, and The xx will have another band to add to their playlist.