The Orange Peels are back with their newest album Circling the Sun, the third album for the band, who has previously released the garage rock albums Square and So Far.
Hailing from the beautiful land of Northern California, this time around the Peels, which is made up of Allen Clapp (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Oed Ronne (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Jill Pries (bass guitar, backing vocals), have left behind their garage rock sound for one that is more produced. The addition of Ronne on keyboards has allowed for a more symphonic sound, and their collaborations with other musicians on the album have contributed to a fuller sound.
Circling the Sun opens with “Something in You,” in which Clapp affects an almost Neil Young-like vocal style, assisted by the acoustic guitar that helps with this comparison, but a higher does of up-tempo that keeps one from confusing them with the “Needle” and the “Damage Done.”
Other tracks sound redolent of Badly Drawn Boy’s pop sensibility, but without the heart. God help me, but the song “Boy in Space” sounded a lot like Styx. I’m noticing several bands headed in this direction, and I must please ask them to stop. The Peels do pull at my weakness for strong vocal harmonies, but it’s hard to spotlight any given track because they just seem to repeat the same tempo and musical arrangement one after the other. This is frustrating, and after a while you just want to hit the eject button.
For me, Circling the Sun, is a hit or miss. There are catchy guitar hooks and catchy lyrics, but they seem to be trying to hard in this area. It strikes me as an album that will spread like wildfire across high school campuses and college frat parties across the country; guys and gals with huge smiles plastered across their faces as their heads bob side to side in time with their music.