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The Oranges Band
Are Invisible
(self-released)
www.theorangesband.com


Here's a nice blast of chunky pop-rock for waking you up from that summer torpor. The Oranges Band is a Baltimore outfit headed by singer/guitarist Roman Kuebler, who's been around for quite a while, starting off with Road To Space Travel and including a stint as Spoon's touring guitarist in the early '00s. The band has now stabilized around Kuebler, bassist Patrick Martin and drummer Dave Voyles, and had a significant addition for this record in the person of ex-Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard.

Kuebler, Martin and Voyles wrote the songs for ...Are Invisible as a 3-piece, but recorded them as a 4-piece with Gillard fully integrated into the band. The approach sure paid off - every song is high energy power pop/rock with crunching guitars and some real bollocks to the rhythm section.

"Ottobar Afterhours" (referring to a bar in Baltimore, which even has its own MySpace page at www.myspace.com/theottobar!) is a killer kick-off, starting with thrumming bass and pounding drums, then some raucous guitar. It does remind quite a bit of Guided By Voices, with Kuebler sounding somewhat like Robert Pollard, but there's also echoes of The Smithereens' melodic power and even a little bit of Swervedriver's unique attack. Things get a bit lighter in the middle of the record, with the cruising "Gordon's Nightclub", followed by the clipped guitar (a dead ringer for Buzzcocks' gem "Why Can't I Touch It ?"), semi falsetto vocals and female backing vox on "When Your Mask Is Your Revealing Feature". I like that title!

Also worthy of note near the end of the album is "Absolutely (Instru)Mental" - which is not as crazy as it sounds, but a nice, multi part 4-piece workout; reminiscent of The Damned's "Smash It Up parts 1/2". The final track "Toulouse-Lautrec" picks up the pace again with some squalling guitar noise leading into another rave-up. Gear!

Get your hands on The Oranges Band Are Invisible if you like your power pop on the meaty, '60s Who/GBV side, and watch out for live dates - I bet this stuff smokes on stage.

-Gareth Bowles

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