I’ve liked The Oranges Band for several years, but never quite committed to actually buying one of their records. I was tempted on a few occasions, but somehow, I never quite made the jump. And honestly, it’s not that big of a commitment, considering how many albums I actually have purchased in my lifetime. Still, something always wins out at the record store. The World and Everything In It, however, is the first record of theirs that I actually own, and doggone it, now I feel like I’ve been cheating myself all along.
Before, they seemed more like a better-produced version of Elvis Costello’s early material, but now, The Oranges Band are somewhat like a dreamier, more youthful version of Spoon or a denser Shins. There’s an epic feel to opener “Believe,” as it builds up, but never quite climaxes. This is where the Spoon comparison is most apt, as the Band seems to share Britt Daniel’s penchant for restraint. Meanwhile, “Ride the Wild Wave” is a reverb-laden sixties throwback, with plenty of emphasis on the band’s dreamy side. The song is almost lighter than air, but an absolute joy to listen to. And the youthful part? Just check the lyrics to “Open Air”: “pretty punk of us to get thrown out/but we didn’t care.” Vocalist Roman Kuebler sings nostalgically, recalling his rebellious days of yore.
There’s an overwhelming theme of the outdoors on this record, based on the song titles alone: “Ride the White Wave,” “Open Air,” “Mountain,” “Atmosphere.” And upon listening to the record, it’s clear that this is a record for playing at the beach, or at some kind of summer function. The Oranges Band just seem to pair well with good times, but the good old-fashioned kind. Their retro-leaning music should make that pretty clear on its own. But still, I don’t want to be misunderstood here. This isn’t a revivalist pop fad, this is just a record with all of its influences in the right place. Even with so many garage rock and British invasion history informing this record, it sounds quite fresh and inspired.
The World and Everything In It is a great record, and one that may possibly influence me into searching for The Oranges Band’s older material. But it also sets a pretty dangerous precedent because, now, there are some pretty high expectations to live up to.
Spoon – Girls Can Tell
Shins – Oh, Inverted World
Walking Concert – Run to Be Born
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.