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Red Orchid: Blood Vessels & Marshmallows

Hailing from Washington, DC, Red Orchid is a two piece progressive rock band led by main man Sanmeet Sidhu (guitars, vocals, bass, piano, synths) and is joined by Tom Dupree III (drums). The band has been reduced to two members since their debut The Sky Is Falling and Sanmeet's role in the band has expanded greatly. While I very much enjoyed their debut, Blood Vessels & Marshmallows is even better.

The band plays mood laden progressive rock laced with art rock atmospherics, ambient textures and harder edged elements. Fans of Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd should be suitably impressed.

The title track starts the album with a haunting intro and sustained guitar chords add to the moodiness. As the song progresses the guitar has a Pink Floyd Animals feel with an overall Porcupine Tree vibe. Softer guitar and keys add textural layers and a somber atmosphere.

"Release" mixes elements of post rock with Steven Wilson style vocals and an overall mellower sound. Crashing guitar rhythms add to the drama.

The moody "Silent Train" takes on spacey atmospherics and psych inspired guitar with excellent lead vocals. Again the Porcupine Tree influence is readily apparent.

An aura of sadness pervades the pretty "Bitter Hands" before heavier drums and guitar end the song with added intensity.

The album's longest song is the ten minute "Flabbergast" featuring Floydian soundscapes and subtle builds. Touches of psychedelia make for one trippy ride.

The album ending "Let Go; Jenni" is a relaxing piece with dream laden soundscapes and a gentle groove.

Blood Vessels & Marshmallows is an album full of mood and atmosphere with excellent melodies and strong songwriting. Although I made many references to Floyd and Porcupine Tree this album is by no means a duplicate of those bands. Subtly influenced would be more accurate. It's a classy album and earns a well deserved four stars.

Track Listing:
1. Blood Vessels & Marshmallows
2. Release
3. Glass Woven Yarn
4. Silent Train
5. Astronomicon
6. Bitter Hands
7. White Mist, Black Widow
8. Drown With Me
9. Flabbergast Butterfly
10. Let Go; Jenni

Added: January 18th 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1689
Language: english

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Red Orchid: Blood Vessels & Marshmallows
Posted by Gert Hulshof, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-18 16:44:16
My Score:

Was Sky is falling mostly instrumental,this certainly ain't so with BV&M, as the songs still balance on the edge of post rock with a slight touch of Porcupine Tree sound added for just a pinch.

Sanmeet is the multi instrumentalist, producer, and writer of all the material on the album. Tom Dupree III only plays the drums, a much needed instrument in most cases.

Recording has been done in 2010 and 2011, and for the mastering of his recordings Sanmeet enlisted none other than Ty Tabor of Kins X fame. The mastering job was so crucial for the sound of the CD, and was in capable hands with Mr Tabor.

Melodramatic soundscapes drenced in long lasting guitar playing with lots of synths and a steady drumbeat in the back describes the sound of the album.

"Blood Vessels & Marshmallows", the title track, kicks of the album. You can hear what appears to be blood streaming through Blood Vessels at an extreme low rate of Heartbeats, which is growing to be quite normal when the guitar work kicks in. As I already stated, post rock with a pinch of Porcupine Tree, or if you will, rough edged PT sound. A volatile track driven forward by the post rocking guitars until the clean guitar sound enters. Entertaining from start to finish and by all means an instrumental track to start the show.

"Astronomicon" starts slow with the narration over some easy going music. Then quickly building up becoming a monstrous post rock song, First played by a wicked guitar, half way through the Piano kicks in and takes over the lead. A bit of narrating is done building towards the ending of the song which slowly picks up and grows into a full blown Post rock song until the end.

"Drown With Me" has, like the "Bitter Hands" track, a great deal in common with some of Porcupine Tree's illustrious songs. Drawn from a great melody comes a track that emotionally builds up to a great rocking song.

"Let Go; Jenny". The song has a real 'I have written this for Jenny' as an hommage feel to it, may be even some sort of requiem for a love. Very sad song indeed, starting out on piano, later taken over by guitar in a more orchestrated sound of chords, not single string play. I really hope whoever this song is written for or about can feel the emotion at which it is performed and of course composed.

As a conclusion, needless to say this is a production of international allure. The mastering by Ty Tabor also worked very well.

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