Review: Orange Island

by brian greenaway


What’s your favorite thing in the whole world? Mine is being surprised. I love the phone call from the girl that I thought would never call back (most don’t), I love the three run homer in the ninth when you’re down 7-5, I love the “holy shit” in life. I love the opening band that makes you drop your beer because they’re rocking harder, faster, and with more intensity than the headliners could ever muster. I love Orange Island. I love the immediacy within each track, percolating beneath the angular riffs and the driving beats. I love the energy and raw emotion in tracks like, “My Last Move” and “Knife in Hand, Gun in Mouth”-you can’t get away from it, even if you wanted to. I love Dave Gorman’s warm, thick voice and I love his lyrics: confessional, boasting and sick of himself at the same time. Aren’t we all like that? Shouldn’t it be harder to look into the mirror that it is? We justify our anger, our lust, our whole being until we don’t have to justify it anymore. Orange Island is from Massachusetts but they could easily be from anywhere. Their stories, like their music, incorporates the bits of the world that seem relevant to them-a chord progression from Hot Water Music, a flair for the dramatic like Elliot, Blake Schwarzenbach’s introspection. The result is one that truly surprises, like the ten bucks you found in your jeans or the letter from your grandma two months after your birthday. Orange Island’s story isn’t a long one (yet) if measured in years, yet the steep learning curve puts them squarely in the company of the established acts they’ve been sharing stages with throughout this great country of ours. They’re not at the top of many playbills (yet), and you won’t hear the undeniably rocking strains of “Oh How Clintonian of Me” on your local college radio station (yet), but be warned-the element of surprise counts for a lot and while it might be antithetical to say, “prepare to be surprised”-there’s too much going on here to deny. I love Orange Island.