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New Comes and Goes

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Album Review

Since the release of 2003's Shutdown the Sun/From the Ashes of Electric Elves Oranger have erased the last vestiges of country-rock, guitar psych, and experimentation from their sound. 2005's New Comes and Goes is sleek and shiny, a stripped-down and exciting guitar rock record that doesn't score many points on the originality front but makes up for it with solid songcraft, tight and wiry performances, and a raft of memorable songs. The dual-guitar attack, the simple but (college) radio-ready arrangements, and Mike Drake's laconic drawl of a voice call to mind Pavement's poppier and more lucid moments; the uplifting choruses, vocal harmonies, and subtle but important keyboards of Pat Main bring up thoughts of the New Pornographers; and the tough, melodic, and timeless tunes show the influence of '70s power pop rockers like Cheap Trick, the Real Kids, and on one of the record's transcendent moments, "Outtatoch," ELO. Actually the record is filled with moments that lift it above run-of-the-mill indie rock status, and the band has strengthened itself immeasurably by cutting down its sound to just the right essentials. Most of all Oranger have written a batch of excellent songs (like "Haeter," "New Comes and Goes," "Crooked in the World of the Catacombs," and "Sukiyaki"), performed them well, and wrapped the whole thing up in a well-produced and sequenced package. Only one or two songs near the end fall flat, but that is a percentage you can live with when so much goes right. The group has reimagined itself in just the right way, and while the record might be a letdown to those fans of the group's previous work who dug their trippier aspects, Oranger were headed down a dead end, really. Better to deliver an album of good old-fashioned guitar rock that will get feet tapping and have people singing along by the second listen. New Comes and Goes is a small-scale triumph.


Formed: 1997 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Representing ingenious kaleidoscopic conceptions, supported by guitar strains inspired on the foremost indie pop preferences, Oranger qualified as an additional rock psychedelia revival band in the late '90s. Oranger's set formed in San Francisco in 1997 with Mike Drake (vocals, guitar), Jim Lindsay (drums), and Matt Harris (bass, vocals). All three had previous band experience; while Drake and Harris were a part of the set of Overwhelming Colorfast, Lindsay played with the Stick Figures. At the...
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