Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Orwells Soak Up Mall Memories

The Orwells might be made up of five 17-year-old Chicago suburb natives, but you won't necessarily get that from their music. Sure, they sing about girls and being suspended from school but those pastimes will likely follow them into their post-teen lives. The sound might too.

They fall somewhere between garage rock and punk with a flair for the blues. Their label says it comes from somewhere else, a deeper, different place. Maybe folk, having heard some of their early work. But it doesn't matter where given how good it sounds on their 12-track label debut Remember When.

The Orwells make music like older souls.

They may sound like old souls, but the topics cover what they relate to today. It has some punk spirit, but so much of it is stripped down and raw that the harshness implies a wisdom of sorts. They've been paying attention even when nobody thought they were.

As a debut it does an especially good job reminding everyone that rock can be angry and rebellious without feeling poppy or premeditated. Most of it carries a brooding urgency; ferocious without the speed.

That's not to say they can't kick it up when they want to. Lay At Rest opens with distant guitars before dropping back into near kicked back do-wop rock with a steady guitar hook. It's contemplative and hazy, rolling along like a garage rock folk tune with a rock edge.

Their breakout video is Mallrats, put up well ahead of the album. It does have some pop punk elements but never really tips over into the sometimes overtly confined genre unless you count sarcasm. It's all indie rock, with a heavy dose of suburban bad boy and girl boredom.


The video was directed by indie filmmaker Eddie O'Keefe, who has an affinity for filming delinquent teens and other things. He captures the band nicely; who they are and how they relate. O'Keefe was one of several who begged "someone, anyone — sign these little brats."

The band hoping to break out this year and track highlights.

Fronted by Mario Cuomo (vocals) with Baby Chuck (bass), Dominic Corso (guitar), brothers Grant (guitar) and Henry Brinner (drums), The Orwells originally came together three years ago while still in middle school. Mostly, they wanted an alternative to sports and still get girls. I'm not sure how the latter worked out, but they did a great job refining their talent and settling in on a sound.

Remember When was originally one of several self-released collections put out over the years (with this one being the raunchiest). The label release keeps the DIY vibe intact, but has done pretty well at getting the five-piece band more attention. They needed some help, but not because they lacked talent. LA clubs weren't booking them because of their age, so they were confined to playing house parties.

They didn't mind too much. They said some of the best shows they've played so far were in backyards. Once they all graduate, it seems likely it won't be as much of a problem with label support. They may be sloppy at times, but they have a raw passion and intense stage presence.

There isn't a bad song in the bunch. Besides the two mentioned above, In My Bed is a must listen. It's the best track on Remember When. Also give a listen to All The Cool Kids, Painted Faces And Long Hair, and Hallway Homicide. Like No One Else also has some swagger that hints at their folk leanings. So does Under The Flowers, even if it is a weaker contribution. Skip Ancient Egypt.

Remember When By The Orwells Digs Up 6.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

You don't have to be in high school to appreciate some of the tracks. Much of the album makes you rethink how you might have romanticized high school. It was fun at times, but never all that. The urgency comes into play because they were honestly worried about missing their chance (listen to Never Ever).

You can pick up Remember When by The Orwells from iTunes. You can also find Remember When on Amazon or order the album from Barnes & Noble. The band has also been busy releasing live sets. You can keep up with them on Facebook.
blog comments powered by Disqus