19 February 2017

The Orwells - Terrible Human Beings


The Orwells, a band who showed a lot of potential and have yet to deliver on that promise.  I first reviewed their first album 'Disgraceland' (review cleverly linked here) and found it to be a little short when it comes to focus and it felt like they were almost there.  I could have just ignored this album to be honest, but when I first watched their live performance I had such high hopes for them.  I am hoping that their sophomore album lives up to that early promise, I truly do.

01 - They Put a Body in The Bayou

Starting the album is 'They Put a Body in The Bayou', a slow and drawn out song.  It has a stoner vibe about it, some feedback in the back ground and it feels as if it is aiming for a sound akin to The Strokes; but with a much better singer and a bit more talent.  It is a little bit drudging and it does not erupt as much as smouldering, so you do have to give it a little bit of work.  But it is still better than a lot of other songs that have recently been released.

02 - Fry

Now there is the band I first heard with, distortion and energy, it is alternative rock without any of the pop trimming and focusing just on the noise.  It is a short, sharp, full of anger and a focus that was missing from 'They Put a Body in The Bayou'.  It does not hang around as it swirling around with a punk sensibility and it is a bit of a mystery why it was not the opening song of the album.

03 - Creatures

The Orwells slow down a few steps with 'Creatures', it is draped in loose guitar work, a loud bass and it feels a little as if it is aiming for something between oozing grunge and turn of the century New York alternative rock.  Once again, it is not an instant hit and it takes a few turns to make sense.  Even then, it is not the best the band have done.

04 - Vacation

'Vacation' is a little too easy on the ears in some ways, there is very little anger or passion about this one to be honest.  It is a little two nice, even with the idea of people being on vacation and masturbating; it feels safe and that is not a desirable place to be for an alternative band.  On to the next song to be honest.

05 - Black Francis

Another song that is the Orwells nod to The Pixies as they say that they have been ripping them off for years (sort of like Nirvana did in the 90's).  It does have more than a passing resemblance to a Boston mob.  But it seems to want to mix all of their styles up into one song, not just focusing on one aspect of the band which makes it feel unfocused and due to the mix up, it ends up sounding like an alternative version of 'Smooth' by Santana.  It is a shame as it has potential, but the end result is just too unfocused.

06 - M.A.D.

'M.A.D.' stands for maybe another day, it could have been the title of the album if we are honest by what has been played so far (and on this song too).  It is another slow alternative rock number is stuck in one gear and it has no real urgency or drive.  It is played well enough, but it is not making any lasting impression at all.  I am gonna keep these short if it keeps up the same vibe.

07 - Buddy

Finally, something that has another bit of something about it!  It is not setting the world on fire, but it is at least a shot of punk adrenaline and noise that had been promised.  Under two minutes, alternative punk riffing and nonsense lyrics - that is definitely more like it.

08 - Hippie Solider

Now for the most part, 'Hippie Solider' is like the vast majority of the album; it is a very slow number that looks like it is doomed to ride the line down to boredom.  But the chorus is a work of genius for this album, it has passion in it, it has an iota of spirit and it sounds as if the guitars have finally been struck with some degree of either anger or aggression.  There is at least a feeling of life to this one, but it is outnumbered by the other songs.

09 - Heavy Head

It is hard going at this point ladies and gentlemen, it feels ready to explode on this number and it sort of dries up a bit.  Slower, moody and with the distortion within kicking distance, it just ends up being a little too slow and behind itself to make it over the line.

10 - Body Reprise

This is a strange interlude, reverb, dubs and out of ear shot screaming - it is really short and to be honest it could have been around for a little as at least it is doing something different.

11 - Ring Pop

More of the same here, it is almost there and then in a pause or a dropped number it sort of fades.  As promised, if there is nothing good to day I will move on.

12 - Last Call (Go Home)

The penultimate track feels drained; the word dreary is featured and I cannot help but feel that it is deliberate.  Played well, short and not doing anything that has not been done before.

13 - Double Feature

The ending track and it is over seven minutes in length, it is a strange way to end the album to be honest.  In terms of this record, it actually has a progression, riff and style that give more than a little bit of interest.  However, it is the wrong length once again, it is almost there and it could have been spectacular.  But it is sadly a case of "would have, could have, should have", by the time it gets to the big ending it does not explode as much as gets slightly louder.  Another song that is almost here.

Overall, this is not a terrible album, it is just uninspiring and it is a million miles away from their earlier promise.  It is lacking in passion, it is well played and that is something I cannot and would not deny; but there is nothing behind this that signals that the creators of the album have any emotional connection to it.  I know that bands can have potential and all that stuff, but sometimes it needs to be changed into the actual goods.  This is not that type of album and sadly I feel, it is also not going to be that sort of band.  I am not looking for an argument with the band or their fans, but this album does not thrive as much as tries not to take up too much space.  Unlike 'Disgraceland' it shorter still on tracks that grab your attention, I truly wish that is not the case for me.  As I said, it is not the worst album ever - it is just dull and there is a sort of tragic feeling to this record just for being so grey.

3 out of ten - It could have been a bit better

Top track - Fry


You can purchase Terrible Human Beings on Amazon here.

You can visit the Orwells website here. 

You can follow the activities of the Orwells on Facebook here. 

You can stream Terrible Human Beings on Spotify here. 

You can stream Terrible Human Beings on Deezer here. 

You can stream Terrible Human Beings on Tidal here. 

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