Profile: St. Gregory Orange

St Gregory Orange began as the solo recording project of Tim Metcalfe, who released debut LP Things We Said In Bedrooms through Philophobia back in March 2009, plus a further EP Hearts Are Tape Machines later in the year - both available via Bandcamp.

Things We Said In Bedrooms displayed a lo-fi sense of noise-damaged downbeat electronica, utilising field recordings, dream-like dronescapes interwoven with spoken-word vocals.

Eager to expand the project into a live proposition, Tim teamed up with local guitar-slinger Harry Rhodes (Piskie Sits, Ex Rosie Doonan Band), to play a series of brief, but well received shows supporting artists such as John Cooper Clark, Lucus Renney, Emmy The Great and Stealing Sheep. Through reinterpreting the arrangements of the recorded material to enforce a live dynamic, the duo gravitated towards a far more direct sound, peeling back the soundscaping and sample manipulation to reveal an almost Pop melodiousness which was perhaps not immediatley identifiable on record.

This process has largely informed St. Greg's (now firmly a duo) new upcoming album Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge. Prior to its release, two of the tracks from the LP will be available as free downloads - Salem AM (see below) dropped last month and My Exile Years is set for a couple of weeks time.

With Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge the dream-scapes / spoken word interludes remain, only this time they are employed with clarity and intent, to propel narrative, or to ruminate on the records themes. What sets Midnight... apart from its predesesor most strikingly however, is it's focus on song-craft and detailed, yet stream-lined production. Ideas are deployed thick and fast, songs often taking musical and lyrical left-turns, yet never outstaying thier welcome.

This concise approach has only heightened the cinematic format of the record, utilizing a wealth of musical ideas with nods to such artists as Pulp, Arab Strap, The National and The Flaming Lips. The sentiment explored within these songs has also shifted; where once St Gregory Orange was a vehicle to express just-beyond-teenage fatalism and melodrama, the new album offers a balanced, more mature outlook: shot through with dark humor and hard-earned resolution.

Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge is due for full release through Philophobia Music on the 28th May 2012. Meantime St. Gregory Orange can be caught live at Wakefield's The Orangery for Rhubarb Bomb's mini-festival alongside a lineup including The Spills and Piskie Sits (next Saturday; 21st April) and also at the Long Division Festival on June 2nd, plus more dates to be confirmed.

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