If I were to play this and Domino for you and asked you to pick the new Squeeze album, you’d hug me and praise the heavens for Squeeze’s return to their roots. And you’d have picked Orange Hat. Not to knock on Difford and Tilbrook’s songwriting abilities, which have remained as sharp as ever over the years, but Squeeze’s youthful exhuberance is sorely missed in the pop world, and Orange Hat has handily stepped in. The band features the songwriting of Christo Harris and David Zeus Henderson, and has Southeastern pop icon Kenny Howes on the keys. Drummer Jason Nesmith (any relation to the Monkees’ Mike Nesmith?) rounds out the quartet, who play so tightly it’s scary.
The opening “My Mood Ring” features glorious lush harmonies, loopy chord twists, and a theremin freakout at the end. “Looking at the Robot” bemoans the sacrifices made in the name of science — “now I’m counting all the seconds/that I’m looking at the robot/instead of you.” Bravo!
Cringe Records, P.O. Box 1242, Decatur, GA 30332