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The Orphan Project
The Orphan Project
Double Dos Recordings
www.theorphanproject.com


Remember when Jimmy Eat World launched into the chorus of "Bleed American"? The Orphan Project certainly do; they change the lyrics from "salt, sweat, sugar on the asphalt" to "trust is a dangerous thing" and use it on the chorus to their own "One Knife," the lead-off track on their self-titled debut album. That comes, let's see, after a verse sounding like an outtake from Cursive's Domestica, and before the next song, which sounds like a tribute to Hot Rod Circuit. Then later there's "Your History's Wrong," in which the band casts its lot with Alkaline Trio, aping not just the sound but the lyrical bent of the Chicago band ("crush my bones and burn my ashes," etc.). If you just can't wait until the Warped Tour segment on I Love 2001, this is the album for you.

If not, don't bother. Listing influences can be a sign of lazy criticism, but some bands leave little choice by bringing absolutely nothing new to the table. To be sure, the Orphan Project does a reasonably fair job of walking in the footsteps of its forebears; the album features somewhat impassioned vocals and decent enough guitar riffs and melodies, though too many of the songs drag on long after having made what point they had. "Ramses II" offers a little variety, with hardcore-sounding vocals pushed to the forefront of the mix, but for the most part the Taking Back Sunday verses of "Revenge Is My Dish" more accurately typify the album.

Not every listener demands boundary-breaking experiments from every album. If they did, neither Interpol nor Franz Ferdinand would have careers. But at least those bands bring fresh perspectives to shopworn sounds and convincingly declare themselves more than mere tribute groups. The Orphan Project sounds more like a cover band that wrote some originals, without really thinking through the meaning of that term. At its worst, this album spends five minutes on songs imitating earlier tunes that did a better job in half the time. At its best, it's a very sincere form of flattery.

-Whit Strub

Track listing:
1. One Knife
2. Time Incriminates Us All
3. Possibility/Disaster
4. The Journey's the Destination
5. The Universe
6. Your History's Wrong
7. Home Never Escapes Through Distance
8. Ramses II
9. Revenge is My Best Dish
10. Meaning is Relative
11. The Strong


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