Wednesday, August 22, 2007
CD of the Day, 8/22/07: The Orchid Highway-The Orchid Highway
(Note: This was the best picture of the disc I could find online and my scanner isn't working; if you click on the picture above, it won't go right to the "buy the cd" link.)
Those of you who saw David Bash's midyear top 25 last month may have noticed a band that hasn't been talked about a lot in the power pop coummunity listed at #8: The Orchid Highway. Well, I'm going to do my part to change that, as their self-titled full-length debut is worthy of the spot on David's list (and undoubtedly, one on mine at year's end). Some have called this Vancouver band Western Canada's answer to Halifax's Sloan, and while there may be something to that, they have a bit more of a singular sound.
I've always thought that every great power pop album should have at least one undeniably "killer" track on it, and these guys come through in spades: "Sofa Surfer Girl" leads off the disc, and you might end up wanting to hear it two or three times before moving on to the next one. Opening with chords reminiscent of "Dig a Pony", it goes right in to a more traditional Beatlesque sound with one hook after another. If these guys had been around in the late 90s with this one, it very well could have found its way onto the radio along Ben Folds, Semisonic and Fastball. "Sofa Surfer Girl" is a tough act for the rest of the album to follow, but the Orchids are up to the task: "Medicine Tree" is a fast-paced pop/rocker that earns them the Sloan comparison; the largely acoustic and trippy "Let's Stay In Instead" has a winning melody; "Next World" has a Nugget-y, Rainbow Quartz-like sound to it that reminds me of another Canadian act, The Telephatic Butterflies; and "Pop Tart Girl" sounds just like you'd imagine. Also not to be overlooked are the McCartneyesque "Tea With Shandra", and the tres cool closer "Legion Hall", with a middle section that could have come straight from an old Del Shannon record.
This disc hasn't found its way to the Kool Kats, Not Lames and CD Babies of the world, so you'll have to order it directly from the band at their MySpace or their official site. They've also recently played IPO Los Angeles and are set to perform at IPO Vancouver, so get out and see them if you're in that neck of the woods.