1.) A couple of years ago, as I was interviewing Calhoun songwriters Tim Locke and Jordan Roberts, the discussion turned to The Orbans’ tremendous debut album, When We Were Wild. I don’t remember exactly how Locke put it, but he basically said that if The Orbans aren’t packing concert halls across the country and scaling the pop charts, there is absolutely no hope for any other North Texas rock band to ever break out. When the best of the best can’t catch a break, how can anyone else even begin to get noticed?
All I can say is that I’m glad that Orbans songwriters Peter Black (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Kenny Hollingsworth (lead guitar) believe the destination is the journey and all that jazz. Chances are that as mind-bendingly fantastic as the band’s sophomore album, Vedere, is –– and it is –– a big break isn’t around the bend. Feh. Children are dying of senseless violence every day, and no-talent dumbasses with more money than God walk among us. Life isn’t fair. The struggle –– the struggle! –– may have actually emboldened Black and Hollingsworth. After losing some bandmates and after Black obtained sole custody of his young son Aiden, simply finishing the album began to look insurmountable. But the guys powered through. And then some.
Recorded mostly with producer Chad Copelin (The Flaming Lips, Sufjan Stevens, Burning Hotels) at his Blackwatch Studios in Norman, Okla., Vedere represents The Orbans at their smartest, most progressive best. They’ve lost none of their catchiness. “Backlit Eye” is one of just a handful of delicious anthems with huge, juicy, Beatles-esque choruses. And even when The Orbans experiment a little –– “Bah Bah” is kissed by New Wave while “Before Its Time” and “Come to Let You Down” are propelled by Rubber Soul –– melodicism still reigns.