Oranger

The Quiet Vibration Land (Amazing Grease Records)

Orangeris three guys playing guitars and whatnot, singing songs that sound like the Beatles' about girls who sound like fun. Like Denver's Apples in Stereo (who sing about drugs that sound like fun) or Canada's Sloan (who sing about being in bands that sound like fun), Oranger doesn't churn out its shit by the cheap-ass dozen. No, these San Franciscans craft their pop one great song at a time.

Thus we get "A View of the City from an Airplane," in which singer Mike Drake insists "I love you, oh, I love you" over a surfin' safari of toms and unshaven Stratocaster. And "Suddenly Upsidedown," which cheaply tricks us into thinking that a stoopid-obvious piano line can hold down a rack of gooey harmonies and "You just turned and walked on by"s. Which, of course, it does.

But Drake and his buddies -- underachievers blessed/cursed with the ability to make this type of thing look easy -- are smart guys, so they're never quite content just to let the good times roll. That makes sense when you figure that Scott Kannberg, guitarist with patent-holding smart-guy underachievers Pavement, released The Quiet Vibration Land(the title references the Who's Tommy) through his Amazing Grease imprint. So instead of a clean line of gleaming, not-so-olden goldies, we pick up little sonic burrs here and there, such as the two synth-stoked themes nestled among the hooks, and the weird details that keep popping up, like the slightly tweaked song structures, the omnipresent fuzz that coats everything, and the way all the drums sound as if they were recorded in a different state. Skip to "Green Gold Rolling Skull" for proof, and dig the wigged-out psych fallout. The tune nails Oranger as a neotraditional group but one that has listened carefully, always conscious that tomorrow never knows.

 
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