orange humble band Depressing Beauty (CD, £12.95)label: citadel
For those not in the know, Australia’s Orange Humble Band is one of the greatest power pop outfits ever to set foot in a recording studio. Founder Darryl Mather (Lime Spiders, Someloves) launched it around 1995, going on to release two albums and an EP—1997’s Assorted Creams, 2001’s Humblin’ (Across America) and the ’98 Down In Your Dreams EP. Ken Stringfellow was recruited for vocals, and a good chunk of the recording was done with Mitch Easter, making it a true transcontinental supergroup of sorts. 'Assorted Creams' met with huge acclaim from power pop aficionados who hailed its energy and melodious purity. Genre writer John Borack ranked it the 8th greatest power pop album ever recorded in his definitive power pop guide 'Shake Some Action'. Only the likes of Big Star, The Raspberries, Cheap Trick and Tommy Keene ranked higher. At the end of 2000, Mather chose to take an extended break from music, continuing however to sporadically pen songs in the event the band were to ever reform for a third album. Whilst a guest of Jody Stephens at the 2012 SXSW industry preview of Big Star's film documentary 'Nothing Can Hurt Me', an emotional charged atmosphere saw close friends Mather, Stephens, Easter and Stringfellow agreeing to regroup and record. During demo preparations, Mather also reached out to pop legend Dwight Twilley with the idea of recording Twilley's song 'You Close Your Eyes'. Twilley agreed and additionally offered to help Mather write bridge sections for two of the new songs and to appear as a guest backing vocalist. 'Depressing Beauty' was recorded in Oct 2012, again at Ardent Studios. The line up remains largely unchanged from 'Humblin' with core members Ken Stringfellow, Mitch Easter, Jody Stephens and Mather all present. They are joined by the supremely gifted Jon Auer (Posies, Big Star) and highly respected Memphis session men Dave Smith (bass) and Lucero's Rick Steff (keyboards). Along with the towering pop figure of Dwight Twilley, additional special musical guests for this recording include Susan Cowsill (background vocals), Spooner Oldham (Wurlitzer piano), multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lynch, (backing vocals, guitar, keyboards and percussion), Kirk Smothers, (baritone and tenor sax), Scott Thompson (trumpet and flugelhorn) and former Alex Chilton long time colleague Jim Spake (tenor sax and clarinet). Finally, as a most welcoming inclusion, string arrangements were created and scored by Carl Marsh. Cult like in status, Marsh most famously wrote and conducted strings for the revered Big Star's 'Third' album of 1974. Hailed pop luminary Chris Stamey (dB’s) also provided additional string arrangements. Produced by Mather and Mitch Easter, engineering honours were shared between Ardent's Pete Matthews, Bob Engel and Easter. Mixing was concluded by Easter, Mastering was completed by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound NYC. REPRESSED FOR SUMMER 2016.
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