The fact that Beto Hale discovered the Beatles at a young and impressionable age is indelibly woven into the heart of this album. Whilst not always obviously Beatle-esque, the album seems to often think in similar ways and certainly Orbs of Light has a late 60’s charm and slightly nostalgic pop attitude about it. Nostalgic not so much in that it feels as if it trying to re-capture or pastiche those formative pop years but more that it echoes a similar classic feel, a deft and clean limbed approach to song-writing which seems to have been overshadowed by the march of studio technology and a lowering of musical expectation in recent years.
And in the cyclical nature of musical fashion, that 60’s vibe is often experienced through an 80’s post-punk filter and songs such as The Only One could easily have fitted along side a raft of, mainly British, bands such as Scritti Politti, The Psychedelic Furs and even Echo and The Bunnymen as they searched for the new pop sound.
But Beto Hale is nothing if not his own man and whilst it is easy to draw comparisons, Orbs of Light has a sound all of its own, proving that whilst it is often easy to be able to identify the building blocks of any given album, it is the sonic architecture which the artist fashions out of them which is the real story. The architecture here is quite brilliant.
As a tonic for these darker days which we find ourselves in, Hale’s way to combat the times is to make an album of optimism, poise and poeticism, one which revels in escapism and a universal celebration of the finer points of the human experience. He also does so by blending the infectiousness of pop and the rigidity of rock and then enhancing that structure with memorable choruses, wonderful hooks and blistering guitar embellishments. It is bold and beat led, poised and poppish, eminently accessible and wonderfully ambitious, given the cynical times that spawned it. Proof that no matter how worrying the world gets, there will always be the need for life affirming pop rock and it doesn’t come much better than Orbs of Light.