Glitter Rock. Opulent '80s Pop. Glammy Prog. Bearded, backwoods Elk Rock. Who gives a rat's ass if there's no melody at the heart of it; no soul.
Not that The Orange Peels don't dabble in these styles. They just don't have the time to waste on cute, genre-based music that cuddles up to a pre-existing audience. Defiant, dramatic and probably a little bit of a showboat, bandleader Allen Clapp tells it like it is on "Shining Like Stars," a glammed-up rocker from the band's album, 2020: "If making melodies is a crime, I'm guilty as charged."
As the album's title suggests, 2020 deals with perceptions. Released on the precipice of a new decade, it is as much about looking back on 10 years gone awry as it is about looking forward to the promises of the future. Sometimes life comes at us in crystal clear geometry and hard numbers, and sometimes details reveal themselves only in the soft-focus of memory.
Moving in and out of focus through these 10 songs, the band has achieved its own vision on its own terms. Recording the album at its modernistic Eichler headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, the band took its time to decorate each track (or in some cases, de-decorate) for maximum emotional impact.
Featuring Clapp on vocals, piano guitar and drums, Oed Ronne (The Ocean Blue) on lead guitars, electric sitar and vibes, Jill Pries on bass guitars, Bob Vickers (The Incredible Vickers Bros.) on drums and guitars, John Moremen (Jad Fair, the Roy Loney Band) on guitars, all the itinerant members of the band are represented. Even original lead guitarist Larry Winther took off his reunion-era Mummies bandages for a few minutes to grace the album's lead track with a chickeny guitar solo.
For Clapp, the subtitle of the album may as well be "What I did on My Recession." Out of work for 10 months in the worst economy of his lifetime, Clapp poured his anxiety, neuroses and plethora of available time into pushing the album to completion. Hibernating in the studio with the heartbreak and uncertainty of the times, the band uses words and melodies to make sense of it all. 2020 is their answer.
Keep your eyes Peeled for a tour this spring.
"The Orange Peels stand tall against the tide of musical darkness, raging against the dying of the light with a nice line in clever pop hookery, wielding warm summery harmonies with the most delicate of touches."
"The sweet secret of The Orange Peels is that this guitar-bass-drums and occasional-keyboard combo has somehow created sublime Orch-Pop with out any actual orchestra."
--TIME OUT NEW YORK