The Orchids first hooked up with Sarah
's Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd just as the label was getting underway in 1987, and so the Orchids' debut single, 1988's "I've Got a Habit," was only the second Sarah
release. A second single, "Underneath the Window, Underneath the Sink," followed later in the year. The Orchids' early singles were successful enough that, simultaneous to the release of their third 7", "What Will We Do Next" in September 1989, Sarah
released the label's first-ever album, the 10" Lyceum, a lengthy eight-track EP that, consistent with Sarah
's value-for-money ethic, contained no songs that had previously appeared on singles.
The Orchids' next single, 1990's "Something for the Longing," is possibly the group's all-time high point, a gently yearning lost love song with a gorgeous chorus. Later that year, the Orchids released a one-off single on the short-lived Caff Corporation imprint, the moody "An Ill Wind That Blows." Around this time, Drummond and Moody
started a sideline career playing guitar and bass for their Sarah
labelmates and fellow Glaswegians the Wake
, a situation that would remain in place until the Wake
split in 1994.
For the first three years of their career, the Orchids concentrated almost exclusively on 7" singles, in keeping with the British indie scene's preference for immediacy and disposability. However, beginning with the Penetration EP in February 1991, the Orchids released only EPs and LPs for the remainder of their career. Unlike the Chills
and some other bands who finally began releasing full-length records after a long string of singles, the Orchids seemed to have amassed quite a stockpile of good songs during the time when they only released four to six tunes per year, because there's no drop-off in quality evident on 1991's Unholy Soul. Even more importantly, the Orchids' sound remained neither boringly static nor succumbed to the sort of trend-hopping jumps into acid house or other fads that felled some of their Sarah
labelmates. A more reflective, mature quality started creeping into the group's later records, and the guitar jangle became supplanted, though never entirely replaced, by '60s-style Farfisa organ textures, while various female friends of the band began adding harmonies to Hackett
's previously unadorned vocals. The 1992 EP Thaumaturgy introduced this shimmering new sound, but its January 1994 follow-up, Striving for the Lazy Perfection, outshines all of the Orchids' other albums. Whether the group decided not to follow up a career highlight or to bow out as Sarah
was winding up its operations, the Orchids quietly disbanded after a final performance at the Sarah Records
farewell party in 1995.
The breakup wasn't destined to last, however. About a decade later, the Orchids reunited, wrote some new songs, and released their fourth full-length album, 2007's Good to Be a Stranger. The reunion went so well that the group decided to stay together, releasing their next album, The Lost Star, in the autumn of 2010. The album was mixed by Ian Carmichael
, who had produced most of their earlier work. Working at roughly the same rate of speed, and in the same manner, the band released their third post-reunion album in 2014. Beatitude #9 was issued by Spain's Acuarela
label. Over the next few years, the band played the occasional show or festival and began working on a career-spanning compilation. Who Needs Tomorrow featured one disc of songs from singles and albums, while the other side was all demos and unreleased tracks. The band also recorded a new version of their early song "Underneath the Window, Underneath the Sink" for inclusion. The set was issued by Cherry Red Records
in September of 2017. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi