OPRHAN BLOOM – Orphan Bloom
It’s not often a young group that offers so much promise comes along. Orphan Bloom’s debut CD is an aggressive, psychedelic composite of the best rock attributes from the last five decades. Each member brings talent to the table that, added up, is greater than the sum of its parts. The rhythm section of drummer Travis Drumm and Nathan Wiswall is an indomitable force, driving these songs with conviction. The guitars of Alex Kress and Saigopal Nelaturi dance like demons on a mission from hell. Kress’s vocals are tough, gritty and sung with the unbridled enthusiasm of early Robert Plant.
It doesn’t take them long to kick some serious ass as the opener, “The Waterway,” begins like a Mars Volta song in mid-sentence. The catchy, melodic chorus gives way to a Zeppelin-worthy riff. Drumm displays his chops with a brief, sprite drum fill that provides the basis for a very effective coda.
Orphan Bloom utilizes the heavy riffing throughout most of the album. The arrangements are inventive enough, however, to keep the proceedings from going stale over this one-hour-long release.
Nelaturi makes a blistering entrance on “Immune,” his solo building into glorious cacophony. He plays with a great deal of inspiration and really impresses, especially when he strays out of his favorite modalities.
“Burning in the Rain” may be the album’s most engaging song with Kress singing, “If I have to believe in something, it might as well be a lie…If I have to believe in someone, it might as well be me” “Atonement” /“Indira’s Web” are the album’s most psychedelic moments. The former is an instrumental track with an underlying hurdy-gurdy sound that carries over into the latter’s trippy groove. The harmonized vocals invoke late sixties psychedelia. Suddenly, you’re in the middle section and the band sounds like the Allman Brothers on acid. An ingeniously placed key change brings the song back around.
There are three tracks that hit the seven-minute-plus mark. “Immune,” with its largely instrumental arrangement; “The Veil,” which lurches from breakneck speed into a Beatle-esque, mid-tempo waltz and a long section highlighted by Wiswall’s bass soling; and the closer “Frail Hand,” which incorporates a Drumm solo.
While the emphasis is on rocking hard, the band also has a gentle side that comes out in the latter half of “The Veil.” “Sepia” is also an acoustic guitar-centered instrumental. “Brindle” is another breezy acoustic guitar song, reminiscent of early-seventies rock a la Led Zeppelin III.
Paradyme Production’s Bill Maynard recorded this album and has succeeded in capturing the personality of the band while not cleaning it up to the point of sterility. Thus, while it sounds fresh and experimental, it also sounds retro and authentic.
Make no mistake, the band borrows here and there. The opening riff of “Until Dawn” is a little too much like “Life in the Fast Lane” and there are other, subtler familiarities. But those are brief and entirely forgivable given the depth, breadth and ambition of the album. The best part of all of this is that the band is even better live (read a review here). Orphan Bloom is a CD you will definitely want to hear (assuming you rock) and Orphan Bloom is a band you will not want to miss before fate likely scoops them up.