Red Light Management


May 29, 2020

Orlando Weeks’ first two solo tracks, ‘Safe In Sound’ and ‘Blood Sugar’, have provided a fascinating insight into the life-changing journey of fatherhood that he documents in his upcoming debut album ‘A Quickening’. He’s already earned an A-list with BBC 6 Music and piqued interest with a variety of publications, who have heralded the poignancy of its intimate narrative. Now with ‘Milk Breath’ Orlando has landed Record of the Week on BBC Radio 1 7pm-9pm this week (Annie Mac’s show).

The song is the opening chapter of an album that documents his time as a father-to-be. He’s a figure both vital to the story and yet also somewhat removed.

‘Milk Breath’ captures a tender moment in the early days of a father/son relationship, with Weeks gently singing “You’re a beginner, I’m a beginner too.” The song returns to the disarming and direct refrain, “My son, my son”, which hums like an incantation that is both assertive and unbelieving;“you’re so new I, still forget sometimes, that I’ve got you.”

As with many of the moments that Weeks tackles throughout the album, ‘Milk Breath’ explores an unusual dichotomy with unguarded beauty. It’s an ordinary moment in a young family’s life, but there’s a muted drama in domesticity.

“This is about watching my son sleep,” Weeks says. “When you’ve rocked him for 45 minutes and finally the wriggling has stopped and the muscles have relaxed and you put him down in slow motion and then stand, without breathing for another 20 minutes praying that he’s asleep.” In these moments, the singer says, “A cracked twig in the street below is like a slammed cutlery drawer. A car alarm half a mile away might as well be in the room with you. But your baby is asleep and at peace and slowly you are too.”

Sonically, ‘Milk Breath’ provides a flavour of what to expect from the album as a whole. Weeks’ voice shimmers as it expresses feelings of love, fear and wonder that are overwhelming but still delicate. Drums trip, woodwind and brass can be heard, piano lines run in and out, vocals layer and guitars are few and far between. This is not the indie rock and roll that some may have predicted. You might think of Talk Talk. You might think of Robert Wyatt. You might think of Radiohead or Bon Iver. You might think of the wonder of Kate Bush. You might think of Lambchop’s late career electronic turn, replacing in that case Kurt Wagner’s Nashville-inflected fragments with Orlando’s chiming and pure delivery, served up by way ofSouth London.

Weeks spent much of his young life as the frontman of Ivor Novello winning band The Maccabees, going on to become a children’s book author in the wake of the band’s disbanding. His first book, ‘The Gritterman’ (2017), came with an accompanying soundtrack and was described by theFinancial Times as recalling “Raymond Briggs at his darkest.”

‘A Quickening’ tracklist:
1. ‘Milk Breath’
2. ‘Blood Sugar’
3. ‘Safe In Sound’
4. ‘St. Thomas’’
5. ‘Takes A Village’
6. ‘Moon’s Opera’
7. ‘All The Things’
8. ‘Blame Or Love Or Nothing’
9. ‘None Too Tough’
10. ‘Summer Clothes’
11. ‘Dream’