The Orange Peels
It isn’t until the fourth or fifth song on So Far that The Orange Peels fall into their voice. The beginning of this record is more a tribute to California than it is an enjoyable music experience. Homage and sun n’ surf metaphors aside, you will absorb plenty of flanged stereo voices, high-hat and cymbal loveliness, and a well-constructed mix.
The comparisons The Orange Peels attract might be a little generous on first listen. The music press feels this is similar to a Byrds record. Although I partly disagree, I can see how those tendencies creep into the better, later songs. This is as much The Byrds as it is elements of Rocketship (minus the twee-shoegaze thang) and the indie-tinged-era Sloan recordings.
The brilliance in this record is found in falsetto lyrics like “you make it hard/hard living here.” (Very similar to The Byrds’ “it’s so hard being here without you,” don’t ya think?) These are well-crafted songs of the 1960s, devoid of wannabe cheesiness or irreverent rock-star wankdom. The shakers and maracas flesh out the best snare sound I have heard in years. How can you dislike a song with the line “the records we used to love/Are in the yard collecting dust,” while a snare rattles under warm, finger-picked melodies?
The future of this band will hopefully part completely from the indie-rock elements that define the first few tracks. When they are on, they are a tight, melodic, harmonious, and thoughtful group that not only write warm songs, but know how to record a real record.
spinART Records, PO Box 1798, New York, NY 10156; http://www.spinartrecords.com