The Blue Orchids - Righteous Harmony Fist
Martin Bramah and bandmates have never been prolific, with albums appearing sparingly; Righteous Harmony Fist is a surprise on the heels of “The Once And Future Thing” and Factory Star’s “Enter Castle Perilous” . . . and they’ll soon return to the studio to record yet another. Blue Orchids are still compared to The Fall; Bramah was the Fall’s first guitarist and songwriter, and Blue Orchids continued exploring ideas behind The Fall’s Live At The Witch Trials. Although much of this album was written before Mark’s death, it’s not hard to hear In The Acid Garden and not think of Martin’s interview with Simon Reynolds in which he discusses pre-Fall days spent “kind of pickled in magic mushrooms and LSD.” What to make of The Art Of Falling or Get Bramah in light of this thought is hard-to-say . . . Bramah’s always quite mystic about direct connections. However those songs may or may not look back, the present and future beckon. If They Ever Lay A Finger On Us, a rare cover originally written by Manc combo Bingo Harry, whose debut album will arrive in coming months), is a hymn for the righteous weary set in an age of turmoil, whereas Deep State turns modern political paranoia on its heels, with its comparison of flawed societal thinking to a highly troubled kid - “Tiny said 'the Earth is flat’ / Hit his teacher with a cricket bat / Now he hides in the woods and eats his meat raw / While teacher sucks her soup through a drinking straw.” Beached is a classic paranoid rant in the style of Work - built-up aggression and intensity, a joyous purge in the light of doom, and no Blue Orchids recorded would be complete without a sort of saga, in this case the mysterious Lancelot’s Last Word. The highlights of the album may be The Lad That Time Forgot, which latches The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain)’s melancholy to more assured backing, or Incandescent Artillery, a soaring anthem built around John Paul Moran’s organ line. The cover art by Serbian artist Leka Mladenovic, who has collaborated with Vic Godard on an extensive gallery exhibition and created previous covers with his wife Aleksandra for The Gist’s Holding Pattern and Blue Orchids’ Awefull.