CD Review: The Orkids

Since I got to do the feature on The Orkids this week but not the record review for Flagpole, I figured why not put up my review on the blog? Handy little thing to have, this internet. Anyway, The Orkids were a ton of fun to talk to at Trapeze, even comparing their music to the movie Tron. Their EP release party is SATURDAY at the 40 Watt. If you just show up, you get a copy of this bad boy for free with your admission. Score!

As always, a word about the artwork. The front and back are cut out paper-dolls (naturally) but they are both adorable bulldogs that you can pose if you want. All done well by Adam Monica who also does an absurd amount of work design-wise for his band.

Paper Doll is the lead-off title track and gives you the full taste of what you’re in for with the EP. A slightly fuzzed female vocal, pounding rhythm and hard pop rock guitar sound kick off the track soon followed by a bit of electro-pop keyboard and harmonized vocals. Interesting note, sung by a girl from a girl’s perspective, written by a guy. I keep thinking it’d make a fun music video.

What is it With Me shows off a lot more of the synth-pop side of the Orkids. Adam takes the lead vocal here, obscured by a robotic auto-tune effect. Had the potential to be annoying but instead adds to the fun dance feel. Sandra enters about halfway through to make the song a duet about conflicting feelings and some heartbreak. Someone make a mega-dance mix of this please.

I Just Want Yesterday is my favorite by far. It’s a rougher track than the others, heavy on guitar and a bit of howl coming from Sandra and Adam’s vocals. There’s just a touch of synth in the chorus but this is about as straight forward rockin’ as the album gets. I love how it ends, especially when it gets quiet and places the spotlight on the great vocal power these guys have. Pure audio bliss.

Rain on Me took me a little bit to get into. Really synth-heavy (in a good way) but it is a standard by the numbers tune. Not bad but not a whole lot to say about this one.

Stop Starin’ is pretty decent, again leaning heavily on the synth aspects and a tiny bit of fuzzed vocals. I would’ve loved hearing the drums a bit louder in the mix but they’re ok where they are. The song is catchy enough though and is a good lead in to the last song..

Gold. I really adore this track. Adam and Sandra discard all of the extras and just sing along with a guitar. It’s a testament to their vocal power that the song carries itself so well. You’ve got Sandra’s sultry lines mixing with Adam’s slightly distant fuzzed delivery. A great song.

So, overall, this is an insanely radio friendly EP full of danceable tunes that actually have a heart. I’d give it an 8 out of 10. Best heard while concert hopping at night during the winter. I expect a lot more from these guys.

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