Like the ever-turning Wheel of Life, The Mighty Orchid King is in constant flux; it has welcomed nearly 20 members through its doors since inception and has materialised both as a 60s-inspired jam collective and a bedroom project for polyrhythmic explorations.
Their debut LP, The Doctrine Of Infinite Kindness, weaves the various aspects of the band’s history together; jam inspired tracks to drift and sharpen into more meticulously developed solo creations. The album’s main theme is eco-anxiety, combining Kerouac-esque spontaneous prose with more direct protest songs about the destruction of our living Earth.
The central dilemma is whether to escape the crisis with a combination of hedonism and spiritualism or whether to tackle it head-on. Several of the songs were written about the band’s experiences in the Extinction Rebellion movement, others were inspired by long periods of isolation and attempts at enlightenment. The LP is a psychedelic odyssey, which sees the band mix their love of 60s harmony, fuzzy guitars, synth arpeggios with occasional impressions of samba, jazz and house.
Much of the music on the record was dreamt up and played by multi-instrumentalist Jonny Bennett, who in the band’s live setup can be seen in the rare role of the singing drummer. We also hear vocals for the first time from co-founder and 12-string devotee Martin van Heerden on his garage-rock anthem ‘Head’. They are joined by Matt Snowden on left-handed 6-string duties; Marcelo Cervone on bass guitar and saxophone; and Will Stephen (aka June Logue), the band’s in-house producer and synth guru.
There is also a song here, EkoEko, from Michael Rea (aka Symbol Soup) as well as contributions from original founding member Pete Martin. Recording for the LP was split between June Logue’s home studio, DIY bedroom vocal booths and Tom Hill’s Bookhouse Studio in London.