The Orphanage

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It’s been three years since The Orphanage first brought their gritty, whiskey-soaked rock ‘n roll to punters in Melbourne and beyond. This month marks the release of their debut album Till Death, and front man Tom Woodward is looking back on the band’s progression from a folk duo to the raucous six-piece assembly that The Orphanage has since become.

“It began as a rather fateful accident” Woodward reminisces, and with unabashed drollness continues “it was kind of like a car crash in which the opposing drivers end up married, having six children, who bear them thirty-six grandchildren, and before you know it a whole new species has evolved.”

It becomes clear that Woodward is going to respond to this interview in the same theatrical manner with which he delivers The Orphanage’s story-telling lyrics. “But yeah,” he squares for a moment, “in all honesty, we pretty much stole each other from each other’s bands and have been on the run ever since.”

Woodward describes Till Death as an evolution of the band’s previous sound, comprising their folk beginnings with meatier drum sounds, swampy guitars, violins, organs and of course Woodward’s own gravelly, clearly-Cave-influenced voice.

“We started as a kind of play-around-the-campfire-while-Fred-flips-sausages kind of outfit. Naturally it got louder and more violent and more womb-like. It’s like being massaged by warm metal fingers.” Woodward adds, “Till Death marks a change ’cause we can move on now and do another album!”

With a name like The Orphanage, one might expect a bunch of desolate misfits to make up the band. While the music does venture into gloomy territory, the six ‘orphans’ actually appear to be quite the ‘family’ band.

“I suppose we’re all orphans in our own little worlds,” Woodward muses, before deciding “actually, maybe the name’s just ironic ’cause we’re all middle class white kids from Canberra. Except George [Hyde, guitarist], who was born in a deserted tin mine outside Bunbury in Western Australia.”

The album is being released through vocalist Tiana Morrison’s label Bayonet Records, and will be launched at The Workers Club this Friday 4th March. So what can punters expect at the launch?

“A good show, I hope,” Woodward says. “[Supporting acts] Plague Doctor and Mikelangelo & the Tin Star are both truly intimidating acts to follow, and we haven’t played a proper gig in so long that we’re just bursting with the desire to rock. So the plan is to satisfy that desire on both sides of the foldbacks.”

Listen to The Orphanage at www.myspace.com/theorphanagemelbourne
Till Death launches at The Worker’s Club this Friday, 4 March
51 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Doors open 8pm, entry $10
**To win a double pass to the launch email events@milkbarmag.com

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