Being Canadian, I was at a loss originally as to where Ormondroyd acquired their moniker. I kept thinking along the lines of science fiction, Star Wars, Klingons and all things from another world. Having that imagery firmly placed in my head, I put on_ Hit & Hope on the assumption that space-rock akin to Spaceman 3 and Spiritualized was on the menu, as in most cases, a band’s name does hint at its sound. So, judging this book by its cover, I wound through the dozen tracks on _Hit & Hope and my initial prognosis proved truthful to a certain degree. There were moments of post-rock, atmosphere and trips down shoe-gazy lane, and a definite edging towards spatial territory; that’s sounds culled from dreaming about what could be around us, more than what literally is. Then, after a little research post-listen, I discovered the quintet was in fact named after a famous footballer. Well that threw a wrench in my assumption gears, as there is little on this disc I can denote as originating thematically from football.
So, putting the truth aside for a moment, I return to the assertion that Ormondroyd is in fact some sort of extra-terrestrial metaphor, and their music, as such, emanates said factoid. It is easier to grasp the emphasis of Hit & Hope this way.
After more listening, there is much more at work here than simple post-rock, as Ormondroyd have sewn together some complexities amidst the quiet-than-loud aesthetic, bursting with threads of Brit-pop, drone and all rock, minus all the post crap. _‘It’s Too Far Gone’_ harks back to, dare I say it, early Embrace days, or should I say embraces early Embrace, albeit with the distortion pedal kicked up a few notches past the predecessors initial desires. Furthermore, lead single _‘The Storm’_, a song that both John Peel and much of the BBC has waxed poetic about is lovely, as patient and restricted chord punches wash through ethereal, reverberated vocals that speak more towards Icelandic pop than straight-forward post-rock. The song does pulse with post-rock-ish tendencies, but it’s far more creative than standard fare, which is probably why John Peel liked it so much. Moreover, the spatial myth is further distorted by the Sheffield quartet’s eclecticism. Each song is a single or b-side unto its own. Unfortunately, this ultimately breaks apart the cohesiveness of _Hit & Hope_, as if after beating someone to death, one checks the pulse of their victim every few minutes in remorse, hoping that they are still conscious. Simply, the distorted moments clash with the more relaxed, melodic moments. Possibly a repercussion of trying too hard or chalk it up to a fervent search for originality in a debut, Ormondroyd pull off cohesion within each track, but lose it upon culmination. _‘DDD’_ does this, as at some points it rivals A Silver Mount Zion and, at others, Athlete, proving my point with stark opposites.
Ormondroyd often cannot decide where to go with their sound, however promising it is. Regardless, as debuts go, this is a strong effort searching for the right stars, but falling short in finding exactly which one the Sheffield lads are looking for. I suppose with extensive touring and another few recordings under their belt, their search will succeed.
6Shain Shapiro's Score