Orlando was the most prolific band to emerge from the Romo movement of the mid 1990s and, as such, have been described as "figureheads" of the scene. Formed from the ashes of Sarah Records band Shelley, Orlando were led by lyricist/guitarist Dickon Edwards, and singer/songwriter Tim Chipping. Multi-instrumentalists Neil Turner and Mike Austen completed the group, but did not appear on the group's record sleeves or participate in interviews. Orlando combined the stylish, synthesized dance-pop of 90s boybands and American swingbeat acts, alongside an obvious love of Motown, Northern Soul and the songs of Jimmy Webb but added Pulp's sense of purpose, Manic Street Preachers' sense of outrage and Morrissey's sense of humour.
The group first came to public attention when a demo version of "Nature's Hated" appeared on Melody Maker's covermount cassette Fiddling While Romo Burns in March 1996. In the summer of 1996, Orlando released their first single, "Just for a Second" which received largely rave reviews, in particular from Melody Maker's Simon Price, who called Orlando "The best new band in Britain". The Magic EP followed in the fall, and received similar reviews. A new version of "Nature's Hated", the group's third single, was released in 1997, and the group also contributed a cover of Tim Hardin's "How Can We Hang On to a Dream" to the soundtrack of the film Fever Pitch. Despite being seemingly ubiquitous in the British music press, Radio One mostly ignored the band.
Orlando delivered their full-length debut, Passive Soul, in September 1997, released by Blanco y Negro. It received an 8/10 review from the NME (a music paper that had taken a largely hostile attitude towards the group up till then) and made both the Melody Maker and Gay Times albums of the year list (as well as being highly praised by pop bible Smash Hits). The album is now hard to find and commands upwards of £30 on the collectors market.
Edwards subsequently went on to form the band Fosca. Tim Chipping is a music journalist, and also appeared as a zombie in Shaun of the Dead, and as a gay Star Trek fan in Little Britain. Perhaps most bizarrely, drummer David Gray returned to his roots by forming the much-acclaimed satanic death metal band Akercocke.
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