The American duo Ormonde (whose name is taken from the Russian novelist Nabokov’s Lolita) were relative strangers when they decided to record an album in Marfa. Their solo careers were solid, Robert Gomez had toured with the likes of Midlake and recorded on his lonesome. Anna-Lynne Williams meanwhile is one half of the Trespassers William and even lent her vocal talents to the Chemical Brothers track Hold Tight London. But you can forget all that – this is their finest hour (or 43 minutes to be precise).
Machine is an intimate record where the acoustic guitars are pushed up against the inner speaker, close and clear. Their cyclical nature is run by the steady beats, the vocals are quiet in delivery, it’s like every word has been considered for inclusion, it feels painfully real.
Williams has a delicate tone, Gomez meanwhile whispers and breathes into the mic like Mark Linkous’ Sparklehorse. The gorgeous opener, Can’t Imagine, will slow you down, fade out the noise of everyday life and walk you into the duo’s serene and contemplative mood.
During the writing process the two musicians were too shy to discuss their lyrics openly, instead passing slips of paper to one another. Yet this sounds like a beautiful waltz performed by lifelong dancing partners, both know where the other’s feet will fall and the direction they are destined to follow.
Hear their warmed harmonies above the slightly distressed backbeat (Trip Hop almost) on A Blank Slate , or the Folk-infused title track where William’s swoons amongst the electric guitar riffs and streaming Hammond organ.
Ormonde will breathe down your neck, whisper in your ear and hold you closer than most – which is precisely why it’s one of the debuts of the year.