The Blue Orchids
The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain)


4.0
excellent

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (74 Reviews)
September 12th, 2017 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nothing better to do than fool around..

'80-'85 Part I

Doing their best to push back against the up-surging New Romantics and dream-poppers, the Blue Orchids grafted a grittier, more f*cked-off brand of melancholy into the 80’s underground than their fellow Mancunian outfits were offering.

Started by Martin Braham - the man perhaps most famous for being just about the only player to leave mercurial post-punkers The Fall on his own free will, as opposed to being trumped out by Mark E. Smith - the Orchids built angular rock stewed in caustic, occasionally kitschy keyboards and a sharp scrappy tongue. After several stints opening for Echo and the Bunnymen and gutter punk poet John Cooper Clarke, and a ringing endorsement from the venerable John Peel, the band slunk their way into the US scene, where they would tour for years as Nico’s backing band.

Taking doomy psychedelic cues from the Velvet Unerground, the Orchids rounded off that gloom with Buzzcocks and UK Subs-esque upbeat vitriol. What they produced was some of the first blueprints for what just a few years later would become indie rock. The jangle pitch of their guitars, coupled with a tight rhythm section and relentless keys that border on Manzarek treacle turn every tune here into a hermetic block, witty and primed and sound.

Money Mountain , a loose anthology, gathers together the band’s first EP’s and singles into one comely full-length. Given its disparate origins, it’s a small wonder how cohesively tight Money Mountain is. Their next collection, The Sleeper wouldn’t see the light of day until 2003, by which point Blue Orchids were mostly the fare of record junkies with an obscurist fetish, and old, balding fans who still remembered those Hacienda and the Cha-Cha shows.

Despite never striking a proper name for themselves, to those attuned to the underground sound of the early 80’s, Money Mountain boasts some instantly recognizable classics – the nervy chug of “Work,” the swing-prone “The Flood” and the patiently unsettling “Sun Connection” all figured heavily on both pirate radio, and no doubt made countless appearances on the mix-tapes circulating among music club-rats at the time. But even discounting those cult staples, there isn’t really a weak song on Money Mountain. Though the hefty use of keys dates this sound somewhat, it isn’t enough to obscure the keen songwriting pulsing underneath. What’s more boggling is how well this music has aged overall, or how with some modernized electronic touches, it would fit seamlessly as stronghold points on the next album of your favourite indie act kicking around today. Readymade single “Dumb Magician,” eerie psych instrumental “Tighten My Belt” and the gorgeously slack “A Year With No Head” all bring retroactive association elements to The Horrors, Badly Drawn Boy and every other indie darling XL Records was pushing out in the 2000’s.

Braham would make a brief return to The Fall around the Extricate period, start up a small handful of short-lived bands, and would eventually manage to put out the rest of the Orchids’ material, re-mastered and made even sharper. The band’s catalog, small and scattered as it is, remains a singular presence in indie rock, sparing pleas of sleepy town working class yearnings in the Thatcher-ite age.



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

f*ck it, ten reviews in ten days for this series, before the new Protomartyr hits..

Digging: Rip Rig Panic - God

UniqueUniverse
September 12th 2017


5690 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

shazam!

UniqueUniverse
September 12th 2017


5690 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And are we doing that collab review for Relatives in Descent?

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

still undecided.. ask me in a week..

UniqueUniverse
September 12th 2017


5690 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Listening to it now, wanna see if the Fall's offspring has a better sense of organisation.

zakalwe
September 12th 2017


22750 Comments


Nice one pat!!
This album/mish mash is an essential classic.

Bad Education is the greatest tune of all time.

Digging: Randomer - Smokin

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, zaka.. nothing but good ones on this album..

Chortles
September 12th 2017


20598 Comments


well done butch! looking forward to seeing more of these, you madman

Digging: DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Blues

zakalwe
September 12th 2017


22750 Comments


I'd have this as a real starting point for all the ramshackle (amazing) slacker stuff that followed but how many people have heard it? 27? 42?

TwigTW
September 12th 2017


2650 Comments


Never heard of these guys before, but listening now on YouTube and they sound great. I get what you're saying about the keyboards being dated, but I like them.

Digging: The Necessaries - Event Horizon

TwigTW
September 12th 2017


2650 Comments


Well.. if only 27-42 people have heard it, I don't feel so bad for missing it ;-)

zakalwe
September 12th 2017


22750 Comments


The melancholy is real with this one. I was drawn in a couple of years ago by some random amazon review and I was hit for six. Pat has done a belter of a write up. Thank fuck it was him who did the review

TwigTW
September 12th 2017


2650 Comments


yeah, review is great (as always).

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks very much, gents.. very kind of you all, zaka and Twig you in particular..



Chorts, this will be a fun ten days, I have the next three reviews figured out..

UniqueUniverse
September 12th 2017


5690 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sooo... it's fine... it's definitely fine. i don't really have a whole lot to say about it other than that, but it is listenable...

Divaman
September 12th 2017


1210 Comments


You should get my man Compost to help!

Digging: Zola Jesus - Okovi

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unique, you soulless creature..



hahah, Diva, Compost would be too baffled by good music for this one.. he's more used to Lorde and such..

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


18383 Comments


ahh and so it starts! nice work butcher, excited to see where this takes us

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, Con!

Divaman
September 12th 2017


1210 Comments


Yeah, don't let Compost do The Fixx, heh heh.



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