The Oranges Band All Around

[Lookout!; 2003]

Styles: garage/indie/punk rock, pop rock
Others: The Clean, The Reputation, The Essex Green

In this time of mass popularity for Strokes, Stripes, and all their clones, one of the most difficult tasks a band can set for itself is to make a "no-nonsense rock record." It could at least be called a little reckless when a band voluntary decides to "add something" to the already humongous selection in this genre. Nevertheless, the Baltimore-based quintet The Oranges Band has done exactly that with their full-length debut, All Around.

The Oranges Band was founded by Spoon bass player Roman Kuebler, who undertook a somewhat curious approach to form his new band: he scheduled a tour, proceeded to make the record, and finally recruited his fellow bandmates. That seems quite unlikely because not only is the music played by a band without musicians quite boring and unsatisfying, it is also a complete impossibility. But his intention is clear: this process could keep the energy of a live performance more alive on the final recording. And that's audible on All Around. The majority of the record shows that this band has the fundamental urge to create simple, uncomplicated rock music.

There are enough other reasons why The Oranges Band might be favored above the other bands that sound just like them: the songs are well executed, and more importantly, they don't bore the listener after repeated listens. Even though the lyrics consist of meaningless nonsense about buildings falling into the sea, androids, and descriptions of apartments, they are sung in such a way that they fit the songs very well. Alike for the music: the chord progressions are not strikingly original, but they are executed vivid and lively.

The final question that we have to ask ourselves is the one that we began with: does All Around add anything to the genre? The songs are refreshing enough to give a positive answer; but, on the other hand, well, it’s not much more than just twelve simple rock songs. Nothing more, nothing less, and so I’m afraid that, even for their enthusiasm and sincerity, it won't help The Oranges Band to become the new saviors of rock. But for a pleasant diversion from the genre, All Around is certainly worth your time.

1. Finns for Our Feet
2. Keep Your Teeth
3. My Mechanical Mind
4. My Street
5. All That Money (You'll Get Over It)
6. All Around
7. OK Apartment
8. I'm Still Right...Still
9. North Carolina
10. Oh, Madalene
11. Opticalize I Can See
12. The Trees on My Street