The Orielles are an indie band. But not in the derogatory “landfill” sense. They’re reclaiming the word, reminding us that “indie” used to be something to aspire to. In this, they’re quite noughties: they do the girl-group-go-garage-rock thing that was de rigueur a few years back, especially in Brooklyn, and there’s a chillwave glaze and surf-pop shimmer over some of their tracks. But they’re also quintessentially 80s indie. Their shambling jangles can be reminiscent of the maligned C86 scene but, on their more recent tracks, there is a rhythmic propulsion that marks them out as progeny of an earlier NME cassette compilation of alternative music: namely, Dancin’ Master, from 1981, which evinced the then-radical shift towards dub, disco and funk. At one point in our interview with drummer Sid, she namechecks as an Orielles favourite the Housemartins – arguably the whitest band in indie history – only to then cite as an influence Orange Juice, whose assimilation of black music elements is a matter of record.
If it sounds as though the Orielles are steeped in indie of all flavours and eras, that’s possibly because they grew up with it: Sid and her kid sister Esmé’s father used to be in the Train Set, a Crewe band whose name suited the cutie aesthetic of Talulah Gosh et al, though the noise they made was more at the noir end of things, with shades of the Bunnymen, Joy Division and the Smiths. “He looks dead cool,” Sid says of seeing her dad in 80s-vintage photos, all floppy fringe and regulation indie-wear (Levi’s, DMs). “You can see the similarities with the fashion and hair [of today]. The quiffs are coming round again. It’s inspiring to see him at the age we are now.”