Orlando Weeks recently launched his solo career with Safe In Sound, a track that was A-listed at BBC 6 Music and inspired comparisons with the likes of The Blue Nile and Talk Talk. Now he releases his debut album A Quickening via Play It Again Sam. As the birth of Orlando Weeks’ son drew near, he wanted to try to make sense of an experience that is both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. The result is A Quickening, an album that tells the story from the point of view of a prospective father-to-be, a figure both vital to the story and yet also somewhat removed, in awe of what the mother goes through and often helpless to do anything about it.
Weeks’ voice shimmers as it expresses feelings of love, fear and wonder that are overwhelming but still delicate. Drums trip, woodwind and brass can be heard, piano lines run in and out, vocals layer and guitars are few and far between. This is not the indie rock and roll that some may have predicted.You might think of Talk Talk. You might think of Robert Wyatt. You might think of Radiohead or Bon Iver. You might think of the wonder of Kate Bush. You might think of Lambchop’s late career electronic turn, replacing in that case Kurt Wagner’s Nashville-inflected fragments with Orlando’s chiming and pure delivery, served up by way of South London.
A Quickening was created with the help of Weeks’ old friend Nic Nell, who produced, engineered and mixed the album. The pair collaborated on the music that accompanied Weeks’ 2012 graphic novel, Young Colossus. Nell also runs the label Algebra Records and makes music under the name Casually Here. The album also highlights select performances from members of Weeks’ live band: Caruso (drums on Blame Or Love Or Nothing and All The Things), Sami El-Enany (piano on Takes A Village and Summer Clothes), and Will Petherbridge (the freewheeling solo on St Thomas).