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Album Review

Complex arrangements and unusual time signatures combined with lyrics that use terms like "ersatz" without flinching make Orchestraville music well-suited to music-tech snobs and English majors. Fractured pop is a description that comes to mind, emphasis on the former. Finger-twisting chord progressions run together in off-kilter, yet strangely catchy, patterns that alternately mimic and fight with the equally unusual vocals skimming the record's surface. The slightly askew musical slant gives the record an at times unnervingly dark air. Throughout Orchestraville's ten tracks, the guitars twinkle, stutter, and howl like a winding-down calliope at a haunted amusement park. Orchestraville has a knack for writing lyrics that are truly unique, unlike some bands whose songs are so packed with clichés that you can sing along the first time you hear the song as the lyrics are just so obvious. While Orchestraville's singer often turns out some odd phrases, he has a way of making them seem perfectly natural. For example, the line "handing over no small change in return then you receive pigeons full of microfiche" doesn't exactly seem musical, but when Orchestraville sings it, it is. Though still rather darkly quirky in tone and pace, "Maybe It's a Train" is probably the closest the band comes to writing a really casual and approachable song, and the result sounds a bit like nasal They Might Be Giants doing their best Robyn Hitchcock. On the wrong day, a record this oddly complex is a bit grating as it is hardly the sort of thing that can be turned on and used as unobtrusive background music. However, when looking for a respite from the usual suspects catering to the lowest common IQ on the radio, Orchestraville's brainy rock may be just what the doctor ordered. ~ Karen E. Graves, Rovi

Orchestraville, Orchestraville
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Pop
  • Released: 1998

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