Talitha Rise – An Abandoned Orchid House 
Talitha Rise - An Abandoned Orchid House
(Sonic Bond/Coven Tree Records)

Release Date: Out Now

Welcome, come on in. This is the abandoned orchid house where Talitha Rise lives and it is a place of wonder, beauty, fear and triumph. This is the debut offering from the Devon based artist and it is more of an experience than just a collection of songs. The introduction to the experience, ‘Orchid House’, is like entering Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory where Kate Bush and Tori Amos have been staying for a few weeks as a holiday let with Helena Bonham-Carter and things have got a bit weird – this is your last chance to turn back but, y’know, don’t. ‘Valley’ has a more prog-folk feel but still with that ethereal energy flowing through the mangle of notes and whispered vocal harmonies in to something that sounds like a Fleetwood Mac jam. It’s a strong start.

‘Incantation’ enters backwards in a haze of patchouli oil and some form of Jazz-Folk instrumentation which you have to just close your eyes and let wash over you for the first few listens, there’s no point trying to pigeon hole or label this. The windswept and remote vibe that plays throughout this album is never more present than on ‘Hungry Ghost’ which sounds like an old Gaelic folk song speaking to you through ages as Rise’s voice calls out like a land-locked siren in need of a soul to speak to. There’s a simple piano line that introduces ‘Bloodfox’ as well as a sample of speech from the much missed MP Jo Cox and suddenly a calm and clarity comes over the space you are occupying. “I’ve seen enough to last a lifetime” she sings and I think anyone who hasn’t been in a cave or a coma for the last 5 years probably feels the same right now.

Talitha Rise
I’m not sure I would trust anyone who wasn’t affected by this album in one way or another so I might start using it when I meet new people – a positive or negative reaction is fine but any indifference may well flag the undead in you. ‘River’ picks up the energy and pace and gets back in to that Fleetwood Mac space before ‘Chapel Bell’ brings a medieval mysticism to affairs on a song that could only have come from a celtic or Viking background. On ‘The Lake’ you get a sneak at the kind of atmosphere Talitha Rise could create if she was let loose on a soundtrack for some kind of thriller, possibly from Scandinavia, with an off-beat rhythm and swirl of instrumentation all adding power to an already formidable voice.

‘Twisted Tree’ is the penultimate song on this album or room in this house and it’s powerful piece of prog-folk which would give First Aid Kit a run for their money but this is but a prelude to the final track. ‘Lifeboat’ is a delicate track with a seemingly innocent Tori Amos piano melody moving furtively along while Rise’s vocal soars above the lost voices in the harmonies drowning in the sea below here. Listening to and writing about music like this is an absolute pleasure because of the myriad images that come to life and swirl around you as if summoned from another world. The fact that Talitha Rise managed to pack all of these images, ideas, moods and sounds in to one album of solo material is, well, let’s just say it’s pretty impressive. A stunning debut.

Live Dates:

30th June – Shaftesbury Fringe Festival, Shaftesbury
2nd July – Ledbury Fringe Festival, Ledbury
10th August – Komedia, Brighton
25th August – Cult of Superted Radio Show, Totnes
31st August – The Angel Gallery, Totnes
1st September – Balcony TV, Exeter