The Roots of Orchis
The Red House in Winter
The Roots of Orchis is an instrumental band with good intentions. If there’s one thing you wouldn’t find yourself doing with this band, it’s questioning the members’ sincerity. With that said, there are a few problems with the band’s debut release, The Red House in Winter. The band’s sound is pleasant enough, with guitar parts intertwining around gurgling electronics, semi-rudimentary drumming and expressive bass playing rounding things out. The recording quality on this CD is not exactly top-notch, which is important with this type of music. The band also seems to be suffering from the Easy Listening Complex (I need to trademark that I think I just invented a new rock-journalism term), which also seems to be affecting bands like Tristeza, Rachel’s, and Tortoise, to certain degrees. These bands, in theory, are making sounds that are experimental and forward-thinking, but sometimes it just comes across as being mindless ear-candy, thus the Easy Listening Complex. When creating instrumental music, there are several possible purposes: You might be making music for yourself (which just might be the case with the Roots of Orchis), you might be trying to evoke a particular mood or provide background/soundtrack music, or you might hope that the end results will be intriguing enough to warrant a close listening. With the aforementioned three bands, as well as the Roots of Orchis, there are moments where you just have to ask yourself, “Why am I listening to this? Do I really like it, or is it just so non-threatening that it’ll do as nice background music?” While there are other bands in this genre who do it better (33.3, Couch, and Kiln come to mind), toward the end of the Roots of Orchis’ CD, things start looking up, with the tracks “Killing of a Wasp,” showing off a slight Brazilian influence, and “Conquistadores y Defensores,” with its perky drum fills and shining guitars, proving that there is a lot more going on here and that good intentions can sometimes pay off.