Thursday, May 26, 2005

CD Review: The Orange Peels - Circling The Sun

Cosmic skies, Palo Alto, ankle bracelets, broken promises, melancholy mornings, and a sun swallowing ocean all come to mind with this latest release, Circling The Sun, by The Orange Peels. I could play word association games forever, but I’m sure you just want to know what this latest permutation of what’s called The California Sound sounds like and whether it will change your life. One thing it doesn’t sound like is The Eagles so there’s no need to worry about being stuck in the “Hotel California” here. It also doesn’t sound like The Beach Boys. It actually sounds like mid-80’s Prefab Sprout or Dream Academy mixed with a good dose of Hoodoo Gurus.

There’s an elegant and dreamy feel to album opener, “Something In You”, that’s evocative enough it could be used in a Volkswagen commercial. “California Blue” is next up with chiming guitars framing a bittersweet tale – “I turned off my colored world and just faded to gray” – this is a California that’s not always sunny and fair. The Orange Peels recall the underrated band, Deathray, on the churning title cut, “Circling The Sun”, a straight ahead rocker with maudlin lyrics. The pristine piano line on “So Right” reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne’s “You Can’t Kill Rock And Roll” which I’m sure was unintended, but still a pleasure to hear for this rock scribe. Just when you think the album is degenerating into simple mope rock, see “Long Cold Summer” for reference, they come right back with a song that could have been a Hoodoo Gurus outtake with “What’s It Like Mary Jo?” which is easily the peppiest song on Circling The Sun.

I don't reckon the record will change your life, but it will provide a good soundtrack for the summer when the ebullience is just too much for you. The album will be released June 14th and the band will be playing a record release party on June 16th at Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco. Circling The Sun is available through the always stellar Parasol Records.


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