Photo By Jamie Wdziekonski

Today Australian psych/rock band ORB are announcing their fourth studio album and first in six years, Tailem Bend. Out July 12th 2024 on Fuzz Club worldwide and on Flightless Records in Australia, their long-awaited return is signaled by the release of lead single “Can’t Do That” – and backed with another new track in the shape of B-side “Morph,” also lifted from the new record. Watch the “Can’t Do That visualizer and stream both tracks HERE.

Written over 2021 and 2022 and finished in the studio early last year, Tailem Bends finds ORB’s heavy doom-rocking jams infused with a lighter psych-pop sensibility and unexpected detours down funky rhythmic grooves that sound as if they’ve been warped under the Pacific sun. The shape-shifting “Can’t Do That” is a perfect case in point, David ‘Daff’ Gravolin (guitar/bass) writing that: “’Can’t Do That’ started out from a demo of mine. Tried to sound like Witch, ended up sounding like Thin Lizzy.” Vocalist/guitarist Zak Olsen adding that “Lyrically it’s about having self-respect in low times.”

It wasn’t meant to be six years between albums for ORB. The Geelong-forged trio last graced us with a studio offering in the form of 2018’s characteristically heady The Space Between, before touring Europe and America back-to-back supporting King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard in 2019. But time rarely passes as expected, whether slowed by pandemics, side pursuits or other vagaries of daily life. What’s important is that a fourth album is finally here, with enough byways and trapdoors to keep us well occupied indeed.

Saturated in vintage warmth and depth, Tailem Bend showcases ORB’s knack for achieving tuneful hypnosis amidst a dank roominess. It snakes through big, brash riffing as often as it does sun-dappled psych pop, with memorable rhythmic runs and funky wah licks along the way. As signalled by the cover artwork from Parsnip’s Paris Richens – which depicts either a swan or a fish, depending on how you look at it – ORB have returned with an album that rewards taking it in from multiple angles. There’s plenty of the band we know and love, but there’s also enough of the new to prompt a healthy succession of double takes.

There are still the inevitable avalanches of fuzz, but also present now are mellower passages and a renewed focus on rhythm and space. It’s not a wholesale departure, but it’s distinctive enough to be reflected in the album title itself. The source? Tailem Bend is a quiet town in South Australia whose name was evocative enough to catch the band’s collective eye on tour. Conjuring images for them of some lost prog act, the name reportedly derives from the Ngarrindjeri word “thelim,” referring to a sharp bend in the nearby Murray River.

That made it especially suited to a record that packs many dramatic turns of its own – all without breaking its natural flow. It also helps that Zak Olsen (guitar/bass/vocals), David Gravolin (guitar/bass) and Jamie Harmer (drums) have now been playing together for a decade and a half, dating back to their long run in their teenage band The Frowning Clouds. That shared history absolutely informs Tailem Bend, which reunites the core trio with producer Tim Dunn (who helmed several Frowning Clouds albums) and a guest conga player in Frowning Clouds bandmate Nick vanBakel (now the leader of Bananagun). Half of the album also features The Murlocs’ Callum Shortal, who often augments ORB as a second guitarist live. And listen out for Jesse Williams (Leah Senior, Girlatones, Baby Blue) on piano and backing vocals from Emma
Bailey and Ashley Goodall.