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{Review} The Orbans: When We Were Wild

The Orbans are a Fort Worth alt-country/indie-rock outfit that has placed itself firmly in the Americana realm with their new release When We Were Wild. Elements of Ryan Adams and Old 97’s mingle with Beatles-esque melodies all delivered with a dose of Texas musical attitude. Upon first listen through the entire album, one is taken with the pop sensibilities that resemble a tighter version of Flickerstick.

“New Dress” kicks off the collection with a rolling drumbeat and infectious slide guitar hook joined by soaring vocals from lead vocalist Peter Black. Black’s vocals have an 80’s alternative rock juxtaposition that heightens the emotional intensity of his heartworn lyrics. “Songs We Sang” has a ragtime feel that sounds like something Queen would’ve made before they got famous and were experimenting.

“Were Her” was a regional radio hit for the band last year and gets a slight reworking for the album that loses none of the original punch while maintaining the catchiness in all the right places. “Barely Someone Known” is a multi-part harmony triumph that begins like a vintage Beach Boys song and transcends into verses of heartland rock before returning to the California coast for the chorus.

“Darlin My Dreams” veers as close to straight-up country/Americana as the album gets and finds the band delivering the type of tune Ryan Adams gained fame for but hasn’t delivered in eight years. The title track is a fresh spin on the nostalgic tinge of youthful rebellion often found in Americana songwriting. Whereas, “Alibi” is a rockin’ joint filled with quick spit lyrics over rolling guitars and a rocking tambourine.

The free-flowing production job of Adam Lasus feeds into a vibe-filled affair that allows the band: Black on vocals/guitar, Cliff Wright on bass/vocals, Kenny Hollingsworth on guitar, Justin Pate on keys and Blaine Crews on drums to fall into the type of pop-rock grooves all too often overlooked in the Americana world.

The album was recorded over many months in bits and pieces…some in Austin, some in Los Angeles. And, somehow, this album ends up sounding like the perfect soundtrack to accompany a road trip along the dusty, lonesome highways that connect Austin and LA.

The Orbans are a band carrying immense hype and they’ve met the challenge on When We Were Wild. One of the best new bands to come out of Texas will belong to the world soon.

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