Sharing Vitamins

The Orange

Independent release, 2015

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Sometimes playing spot-the-influence is like a game of hide and seek with the artist. You have to pay close attention to the details and really probe around under the hood to understand how the gears are meshing in order to uncover the musical DNA of a song.

And sometimes not. It takes less than a minute for rock collective The Orange to plant their musical flag and basically dare you to talk about their arena-scaled, slightly gauzy, heavily Britpop-influenced music without mentioning Oasis. (Yeah, so, that’s not going to happen.)

Opener “La La Land” features every familiar trapping of a Gallagher brothers anthem, from the big, thick, dreamy guitars to the thrumming, pumping bass to the three-quarters tempo—just languid enough to feel stately—to the cheeky lyrics delivered with a knowing smirk. “We’re all doing grand down here in la-la-land,” sings frontman Scott Tucker before they break into a “la-la-la-la-la-la-la” chant at the fade that feels as inevitable as traffic on the 405.

They even engage in that favorite Gallagher brothers pastime of borrowing from the Beatles, nicking a “yeah yeah yeah” chant and some very familiar ascending background vocals for sophomore cut “Such A Drag.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, of course; if you’re going to borrow, do it from the best. It’s just such an Oasis thing to do.

Now that I’ve beaten that horse halfway to glue, let’s return to the simple joys of big, thrumming melodic rock tunes packed with singalong choruses and superb vocal hooks like the “alright alright alright” that’s sprinkled through “Mr. Money Maker” like magic dust. “Skin” is a little rawer, a little greasier that the first three, but still feels like a bonus track from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 What’s the Story, Morning Glory (sorry, can’t help it).

Both “Skin” and “I Want A Girl” again feature little vocal hooks that burrow in like a good earworm will, with the latter’s “whao-oo-woh” feeling particularly inescapable. There’s definitely a bit of a Jet feel to the latter as well, a sort of Stones-times-Aerosmith glammy hard rock thing happening.

“Into Me” takes the album through an initially interesting turn, a sleepy-eyed mid-tempo number that finds Tucker sounding a fair amount like eternally dewy-eyed Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World. That’s as far as the comparison goes, though; The Orange’s thing is irony, not sincerity, so eventually you get to the punchline: “She is into me and I don’t know why.”

After that it seems all but inevitable that you’ll run into a thumping anthem to a barbiturate; “Valium” is pure glam rock hedonism. “Blow-Up” releases any pent-up energy with a pounding barroom rocker that again reminds a bit of Jet. Just when things are starting to feel a tad predictable, though, The Orange pulls off maybe the last thing you expected.

I can’t say that I’ve ever wondered what it might sound like if Oasis tried to make a 10-minute-plus progressive-style epic without abandoning a single element of their signature expansive melodic rock sound—but after hearing this album’s closer “30 Minutes Till Midnight,” I feel like I have a pretty good idea. The nearly four-minute instrumental intro is led by fuzzed-out, ringing guitars repeating anthemic riffs over a steady-building rhythm section until Tucker comes in, voice simultaneously sardonic and urgent as he repeats “I want you to know.” In truth, there isn’t anything terribly unusual about the song other than its length; it simply takes a five-minute anthem and allows it to billow out in every direction to assume this larger, appropriately epic shape.

The Orange consists of Tucker on lead vocals and guitar, Kirk Livesay (guitars), Melissa Tucker (vocals/clarinet/rhythm), Dan Langerman (harp), Austin Camp (guitars), Irfan Malik (drums) and Buddy Neighbors (guitars); for this album Jason Jessup provided bass. The group delivers a big, thick, arena-ready sound that’s nonetheless rich with melody and the sort of subtle touches that frequently elevate these songs from simply familiar to intriguing.

What a good band does is learn from its influences without imitating them, and that’s exactly what The Orange achieves here. Sharing Vitamins is a bracing blast of singalong-worthy melodic rock that borrows from the same source material and bands like Oasis and Jet, while delivering music that stands tall on its own.

Rating: B+

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