It might be that Orlando Weeks needed to be shorn of his guitars before we could really find out what he was capable of as a songwriter. Still in its infancy, his solo career to date has been a beguiling one. He already put a fair bit of clear blue water between himself and his past life in The Maccabees last summer, when he released ‘A Quickening’, a soft, minimalist collection in the mould of Mark Hollis’ self-titled solo album, or the quieter side of How To Dress Well, all undulating synths and flickers of piano beneath Orlando’s inimitable gentle croon as he reflected on the realities of impending parenthood. On this quick-fire follow-up, the tempo is kicked up a notch, in keeping with the subject matter; if he was nervous about becoming a father on ‘A Quickening’, he’s celebratory about it on ‘Hop Up’, an album defined by its warm textures, and melodically indebted to eighties synthpop. The sunnier side of Tears for Fears hangs over ‘Look Who’s Talking Now’, while his domestic contentment radiates out of the glacial ‘High-Kicking’ and the chirpy ‘Hey You Hop Up’. Occasionally, the strict adherence to a minimalist palette threatens to become much of a muchness, but there’s enough tweaks to the formula - honeyed backing vocals from Katy J Pearson on ‘Big Skies, Silly Faces’, for instance - to keep things interesting. This is an irresistibly likeable album, very much in the mould of its creator’s affable, mellow personality.
As featured in the December 2021 / January 2022 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.
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‘A Quickening’ found the former Maccabee ruminating on the more pensive aspects of parenthood. ‘Hop Up’ follows to show the more joyful side of the coin with a record rooted in lightness and pleasure.
An irresistibly likeable album, very much in the mould of its creator’s affable, mellow personality.
A new album is incoming!
Documenting the emotions and adjustments as he prepared to become a father for the first time, ‘A Quickening’ finds the former-Maccabees frontman opening up and letting the world in more than ever.