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Album Review

The Orange Peels' Allen Clapp is a songwriter firmly planted in the classic power pop tradition. On Square, he follows the genre's standard formula of bright, ringing guitars and effortlessly catchy melodies to the letter, but brings to the table so much assurance and fresh-scrubbed energy that the album never feels like anything but a breath of fresh air. To be certain, Square doesn't offer listeners anything they haven't heard before — Clapp's reedy vocals at times suggest Matthew Sweet, and a handful of his melodies seem a little too familiar for comfort. But anytime classic pop is delivered with this much flair and affection, it's impossible to quibble; in a perfect world, the standout "Something Strange Happens" would become a smash, although it's not difficult to imagine any one of the album's 14 tracks finding a home on the hit parade. [A Japanese version adds a bonus track.]

Biography

Formed: San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Torchbearers of the classic indie pop sound, the Orange Peels were led by Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Allen Clapp; the band also included lead guitarist Larry Winther (a former member of the Mummies), bassist Jill Pries, and ex-Cerebral Corps drummer Bob Vickers. Originally dubbed Allen Clapp & His Orchestra, the group debuted with a series of singles on such hip indie labels as Elefant and Four Letter Words; their first full-length effort, One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain,...
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Square, The Orange Peels
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