THE BACKSTORY: Oro Swimming Hour… presumably Spanish meaning ‘Gold’ Swimming Hour, which I’d have to presume is slang for ‘the best hour to swim’, which in all honesty, is totally dependent on each individual. Although, if you did want something a little more conclusive, scientific study suggests that early evening might be your best bet. “But what’s this got to do with the band?” .… Oh, yeah, right. Apologies, yeah, right. Got a bit lost there. You’d be surprised at the wealth of information available on optimal swimming hours.
Oro Swimming Hour are a collaboration between two Bristol-based chums Oliver Wilde of Pet Shimmers and writer and illustrator Nicholas Stevenson. Their ‘unwritten manifesto’ was to approach this project with an air of freedom and fun. Not bothered about the toe-tapping industry types. Oro Swimming Hour just want to write a multitude of joyous songs, and produce beautiful art. It must be said, they’re doing a pretty fine job of it.
Their latest full-length project Pteradactyl is bright, whimsical lockdown pop for a generation deficient in vitamin D. Given it was written and recording remotely, it’s a credit to them that they were able to strike the same emotional chord with listeners as their previous albums. Be it the lovely fructose prose of ‘Cold Tangerina’ or the untethered twangy shoegaze ‘Untethered’. Oro Swimming Hour’s songs, at times, feel like they’ve been crafted in a paralleled universe game of Pictionary. No, really, they semi-seriously call themselves a ‘Dadaist Folk’ project because of their tendencies to write songs in a parlour game like fashion. And if that wasn’t enough for you, Pteradactyl features the folkloric Mason Bee fluttering his attentive musical wings throughout Oro’s honeyed wonderland.
In essence, Oro Swimming Hour’s tracks are dreamy and endearing. The short nature of the songs gives their albums an urgency which means they finish almost as quickly as you put them on. Leaving you recycling through their entire discography in what feels like a teenage daze trying to find the name of the song which particularly stirred you. Was it: Martial Arts Washing Cars? Orions Seatbelt? Marshmellow? Tandem Moats? Ah-hah, it was Jim Jam Jum. No, damn it. I guess I’ll play it all again, and take notes this time.
KEY TRACKS: ‘Cold Tangerina’, ‘Flash Mountain’, ‘Untitled Landscape’. FOR FANS OF: Pet Shimmers, Alex G, MGMT, Mason Bee.