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.
1. One Knife
2. Time Incriminates Us All
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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