On the two track EP, ‘Secret Admirer’, Orphan school deviates from the mysterious dark ambient / noise of his previous recordings and shoots for a strange combination of simplistic folk and throat singing to create a haunting and dark encapsulating experience.
‘Secret Admirer’s’ sound relies on it’s simplicity; these stripped down folk songs utilizing ukulele, strange background noises and deep resonant throat singing that puts emphasis on creating a dense and vivid body of music. Secrete Admirer’s lack of instrumentation results in a skeletal sound that forces the listener to pay attention in ways not possible otherwise. Where this EP really shines is the range this guy gets with his voice, from a cavernously deep drone to something of a midrange nasally hum that results in some of the most expressive throat singing I have come across. I think that even for those familiar with this style of singing the vocals will be an immediate deterrent but for the more adventurous type, for those who won’t have a problem embracing Orphan School’s distinctive sound this will be something of a gem.
In terms of folk music most will argue that having a beautiful voice or even displaying the ability to sing “properly” is almost always absent. Instead the musicians abilities are focused on enhancing other aspects of their craft such as songwriting, lyrics, and story telling – not to say that the style of singing employed on this album isn’t beautiful but that the lyrics are also a standout part of the music that adds to ‘Secret Admirer’s’ creepy world and alien imagery. On the second track, ‘Next Year’ Orphan School Sings ‘ if you take a look outside there is always something beautiful to find’ which makes for an odd but extremely stimulating juxtaposition with the unusual vocals. The two tracks on this EP do well in projecting a strange feeling, a sense of anxiety and awkwardness through the vivid lyrics utilizing this lovesick character to project them. Orphan School is telling a story and I can’t help but become enthralled in it.
This will undoubtably be challenging piece of music to digest for some but if you can get past the initial shock of what you are hearing the experience is a disturbing, strange, surreal, and sometimes beautiful venture into new sonic territory. Check it out for yourself, take from it what you will, and enjoy.
Overall rating: 8.1
Favorite Track: Enjoyed both tracks
Recommended: Be prepared for anything and embrace it.
Released: 14 February 2012