The Quiet Vibration Land
Every once in a while, some dumb young band will try to come out with the equivalent of the Beatles’ White Album. God bless ’em. There will never, ever be another White Album, but I can’t blame someone for trying. And you know what? An album that’s even 50% as good as venerable Whitey is still pretty damn good.
For those still in the dark, Oranger’s The Quiet Vibration Land is an exercise in pure pop perfection, a collection of fifteen anthems and interstitial material suitable for gloomy mornings, sunny afternoons, cool evenings and smoke-filled late nights. Starting with “Sorry Paul,” a smoothly gliding melody that ends with a blissed-out fuzz orgasm worthy of Abbey Road, The Quiet Vibration Land is one of those records that pushes higher and higher with each subsequent song, and when the album’s over, you’re still waiting for the obligatory crappy tune to manifest itself. While the closest parallels can be drawn to the bands/influences listed before, every song features a flash of something unusual, whether it be a bit of early ELO (“Suddenly Upsidedown”), Self (“Collapsed in the Superdome”) or the Replacements (“Stoney Curtis In Reverse”). Some seem to strike completely out of left field — “Falling Stars” sounds like Ween and Led Zeppelin at their most balladesque. “Green Gold Rolling Skull” is sweet and slow, a haunting melody over a sawing string section and Ringo-esque drum fluorishes, and a chorus that beckons like warm towels after a dip in polar waters. “Springtime” wobbles between being bouncy and boogie, with a (perhaps unintended?) tribute to the Push Kings’ “Raincoat Renegade.” And “The Mother of All My Pain” is a strolling piece, resigned but grinning, eagerly awaiting those moments when the lush Mamas and Papas vocal choruses flood in.
What I find most attractive about this album is Oranger’s rare knack for rolling out downtempo numbers that refuse to plod, mourn or drag — while the beat may be in the double-digits, the energy and infectiousness sizzling through these tracks is no less intense than on the faster numbers. This is one of those “I gotta” records, rare flawless albums whose songs stick to my head like chewing gum on molasses on tar on the hottest day in summer. It’s over before I know it, but while it’s playing, I live in a timeless musical space where each twist of melody and sly chord change is just another reason to grin like an idiot.