The Orchid Pool – Mayfly

As I mentioned to Orchid Pool frontman Tony Paglia, I could have sworn this was going to be some kind of instrumental math-rock band. Maybe it was the moth-like insect that appears to be the band’s trademark. Boy was I ever wrong.
The Orchid Pool is Tony and Kimberly Paglia, with some assorted help throughout, and the two play a long list of instruments that includes traditional rock instruments as well as an assortment of horns, organs, strings, bells, and others. They have a sort of lo-fi, throwback sound that evokes images of the Beach Boys and Beatles at the same time as Neutral Milk Hotel and Guided By Voices. Add to that more of a folk, bedroom sound, and you get a sense of the quiet yet impressive sound of The Orchid Pool.
The sort of quiet guitar and accordion of “Geetar Boy” lets Tony’s vocals take the fore, which works except for the odd line of “I know I sing like a muppet / I don’t know any words by any songs by Jimmy Buffet.” He doesn’t really sing like a muppet. Making a nice contrast, “She Breathes” really rocks quite well, in a more relaxed sort of way, with more emphasis on guitars and bass and the best use of tambourines I’ve heard in a few decades. Things quiet down for the more folksy, acoustic “Dust Bunnies,” and “Holiday” has a more rolling, upbeat folk feel, with horns adding to the mix nicely.
Songs like “Ameila, A Question” totally remind me of a more 70’s Neutral Milk Hotel or perhaps Of Montreal, with sort of a more playful yet quirky indie pop style to them. It’s the vocals and the care-free attitude that make these songs so nice. Then there’s “Ladybug,” a quiet, more somber song that’s centered around piano. Ever changing, the band next offers “Sublimate,” a more moody guitar-driven song, and the lovely and dreamy “We Don’t Talk,” which remind me a bit of Songs: Ohia. So pretty these songs are. “Gossamer” is less upbeat, but much more detailed and intricate pop, quite beautiful and flowing, much more serious and deep. I love this song, and the acoustic guitars are really allowed to shine here.
The Orchid Pool is one of those bands whose music grows on you with every listen. The first few had me a bit confused, but as I became used to their instrument-laded yet still quiet and lo-fi style of pop, I became enamored with these songs. They’re light and carefree, for the most part, yet obviously well structured and quite pretty. Fans of Elephant 6 or Kindercore will eat this up, but the band has enough folk and pop sensibilities to appeal to a much larger audience. (Very unique and impressive packaging as well, with pictures placed like a photo album and easily removable.)