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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
New Comes and Goes
Eenie Meenie Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

November 9, 2005
With New Comes and Goes, San Francisco power-pop outfit Oranger turn philosophical about their approach to making music. Going along with the title of their fourth album, Oranger isn't into experimentation of any kind; they don't try to take you through the back door with quirky melodicism or left field arrangements, and they leave the sweeping orchestral flourishes to Eric Matthews and Rufus Wainwright.

The textbook they've learned from is still, and always will be, relevant, and they refuse to even attempt to rewrite the chapters on Big Star, Cheap Trick or The Posies. What's always worked for them (and other like-minded outfits like Fountains Of Wayne or Superdrag) in the past is always going to be good enough: that is, strong, irresistible hooks, sunny harmonies and big doses of crunchy guitars, driving piano and steady, snap-crackle-pop drumming. That's the stuff that'll never die out.

Every time somebody comes along and tries to reinvent the wheel, the pop elitists may stand up and take notice for a while, but the clock is ticking from the moment of its birth. It's doomed to have a short shelf-life. At least, that's how Oranger thinks. As for me, I'm not so pessimistic, and that's why New Comes and Goes is a bit of a disappointment. I don't subscribe to Oranger's fear of impermanence. I want to hear somebody at least try something new, even if it's an abysmal failure, like Superdrag's Head Trip In Every Key; it's necessary for growth, something Oranger doesn't exhibit much of here.

That said, it's impossible not to like New Comes and Goes. It's like an affable old friend who's always been the life of the party and refuses to change his ways. You want to hold an intervention, but the guy is still so damn likeable it doesn't occur to you he needs rehab. They are great songs everywhere on New Comes and Goes, from the radiation buzz of "Radiowave" to the sweet pounding of "Sukiyaki" to the biting Spoon-like pop and Superdrag-style guitar carpet bombing of the title track and "Crooked In The Weird Of The Catacombs." The langorous California melodies of the verses and bash-and-pop choruses of "Whacha Holden" and the stunning "Crones" make them studies in catchy, beautiful contrasts - at times like the Nada Surf of Let Go.

Less appealing are "Haeter" and "Garden Party for the Murder Pride," which point to Oranger's tendency to rely on paint-by-numbers power-pop arrangements. "Haeter" kind of slides by unnoticed, with its uninspired rhythms and disinterested guitar, while "Garden Party" tries to grab you with stabbing guitars that feel forced and aren't sharp enough to break the skin. Worse yet is the tired piano ballad "Flying Pretend," which for all its placid beauty never connects to any real emotions.

On the whole, Oranger's New Comes and Goes is a warm, engaging pop album that showcases the band's songwriting savvy. It's not quite on par with The Wrens' Meadowlands, but it isn't that far off. In the car, driving with the top down, Oranger's sugary anthems are perfect for staring at blue skies and watching the surf roll in, but New Comes and Goes also has a 60s garage-rock feel in songs like "Outtatouch" that's motorcycle-gang tough. Is it the sort of album that'll have a lasting impact? I don't think so. I wouldn't call it disposable, but the material certainly has a recycled quality to it. In music, that'll get you buried in a landfill.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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