The Orwells–Other Voices

The Orwells are another Chicago-area band making the most of youth.  But unlike the goofy, feel-good vibe of Twin Peaks, these guys make the most out of relishing the unsavory part of adolescence.  While their lead singer, Mario Cuomo, makes them literally intolerable live, his scattered, shambolic presence provides a dynamic contribution in the studio.  Musically, guitarist Dominic Corso is in the driver seat, fueling a sound that fuses FIDLAR-style skate punk with regional references from blues to MC5 and The Stooges.  On the David Sitek produced Other Voices, the band careens through a night of growing danger.  It starts with basic teenage debauchery: drinking, smoking, slagging off some girl for not being hot enough.  Cuomo can’t exactly be said to be a subtle wordsmith, but he captures a certain experience of youth with an impressive exactitude in lyrics like,”Take a breath/Stop freaking out/Take a drink/And let’s make out.” But things quickly turn from typical party to paranoid death wish as Cuomo asks to be passed a gun, proclaiming, “Tonight’s the night/our lives will end,” as he’s hearing voices.  It’s made all the more unsettling by the fact that the music never changes to reflect the lyrical shift.  The buoyant garage rock plows along, implying this bad trip is par for the course.  Compelling, slightly disturbing and musically water tight, The Orwells are a worthy successor to the mantle of midwestern troublemakers.

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