The Oranges Band: Nine Hundred Miles of Fucking Hell
Roman Kuebler must have crafty guitar hooks falling out of his pants pockets like spare change and extra picks. His old band, local indie-rock fave Roads to Space Travel, put that bounty to good use across two fine, hook-heavy albums. His new band, local indie-rock fave the Oranges Band (nee the Oranges), has been following suit, first on last year's The Five Dollar EP and now on the new five-song 900 Miles of Fucking Hell (both Morphius). Since both releases to date have been EPs, the hooks are even more concentrated than they were in Roads.
Hell's opener, "All the Ghosts in Your House," is so crowded with catchy little licks and tricky turnarounds that they seem to jostle each other like racehorses as the song speeds out of the gate, with singer/guitarist Kuebler, guitarist Dan Black, bassist Tim Johnston, and drummer Dave Voyles riding herd. "OK Apartment" winds the EP down with an equally thrilling tension-and-release rave-up, as Kuebler stammers, "Don't ever leave me, lover/ Don't you ever leave me lover" as though he did a line of coke and glitter before cutting the vocal.
In fact, a lot of the hookiest hooks here are vocal hooks. Not that it's easy to tell; a reluctant vocalist even in his Roads days, Kuebler keeps his pipes back in the mix and masked with an echo effect. The singing-through-a-toilet-paper-roll sound works for the snippy breakup spite of "Sweater Weather" ("You left me two plates and I had my share of dinner dates," Kuebler sniffs, distantly). But the Oranges Band EP or LP or DVD that's going to really kick ass is the one where Roman Kuebler's real voice stands up.