Why a band like San Francisco-based Oranger is not on spinART is beyond me. They’ve got all the key elements to do that label proud. There’s the compulsory nod to late ’60s and early ’70s pop legends as well as a clean and well-executed style. Quietvibrationland comes on the heels of Orangers’ first LP, Doorway To Norway, which won the hearts of a handful of critics and indie obscurantists. Their brainy reference points and turns of phrase were a plus for music fans of the classic pop stripe. They couldn’t lose with titles like “Mike Love Not War,” a twist that continues to have new meaning for those who keep up with Beach Boys infighting. Luckily, Quietvibrationland finds Oranger in much the same fruitful mode.
There are elements on this LP that bring to mind various ’70s bands playing Beatlesque music (e.g., Electric Light Orchestra, Badfinger, and to a lesser extent, Cheap Trick and Big Star). The ghost of Pete Ham comes a-haunting on the sullen “Sorry Paul,” “Lay Down Your Head Child,” “Falling Star,” and “Collapsed in the Superdome.” On “A View of the City from an Airplane,” Oranger sticks a little more directly to the ’60s psychedelic charts (like the Lilys or REM doing the Byrds). Without a doubt, they swing classic very well. It’s definitely never slavish. For instance, on the hooky “Stoney Curtis in Reverse,” they resurrect rock n’ roll greatness with a heavy dose of indie, similar to what Guided By Voices did on Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. There’s so much to like on this masterful CD that it’s incredible that Oranger hasn’t already received much attention. More proof that the world is not fair to pop greatness.
Amazing Grease Records, 1501 Plymouth Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94112-1244, http://www.amazinggrease.com