Ormonde‘s Machine is the soundtrack to a pensive, perhaps gloomy, evening stroll. The tempos in this singer-songwriter/indie album rarely top walking speed, and the individual instrumental parts don’t try to dazzle with virtuosity: the “guitar solo” in opener “Can’t Imagine” covers nine notes in 25 seconds. But the parts here are subsumed in the whole experience: the enveloping atmosphere of Machine is its main draw. This is tightly defined, meticulously crafted music.
The fact that two songwriters got together in Marfa, Texas (read: way out in the desert) to write this is interesting, because tunes like “Cherry Blossom” and “Lemon Incest” have a distinctly forested, European feel to me. I know I’m starting to get into quite abstract terms, but that’s what comes to mind when I hear Ormonde’s music.
A couple concrete things: When Anna-Lynne Williams and Robert Gomez sing together, the songs soar; Gomez’s gruff grumble plays beautifully against Williams’ trilling high notes. The back half isn’t nearly as memorable as the front half, which includes the evocative title track, the piano-heavy “Secret” and all other songs I’ve mentioned so far.
If you’re into Tom Waits, Damien Rice, or other highly idiosyncratic crooners, you should check this out.