Oranger is a band whose career to date has been punctuated by critical success and a highly enviable tour history. As Oranger releases its 4th full-length, New Comes and Goes, the band discovers it’s at its strongest when it does what it knows best—playing rock music irreverent of time and place.
Leap years seem always to breed change, and for Oranger, 2004 was no exception. First, the band put a couple of exclamatory notches in its tour belt, supporting Apples in Stereo early in the year, and playing summer dates in Dublin, Ireland and Manchester, England with a band called REM. The band was also asked by the Los Angeles Film Festival to compose and perform an original score for Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film “The Man With the Movie Camera.”
The recording of New Comes and Goes took place over a two-week span in January 2005, a far cry from the marathon process of previous endeavors. Drake recalls, “We wanted this record to be opposite the last record. We decided to give ourselves 10 days to record and mix the whole record. We wanted to try getting the tunes down before we sucked the life out of them.” The band hit the studio after only a few rehearsals. The lyrics were still being drafted during the vocal sessions. The strategy was to make an immediate and direct record that would translate well on stage. The result was right on target.
New Comes and Goes stands as a testament to the chops of the exceptional new lineup. The opener, “The Crooked Weird of the Catacombs” sets the Oranger fireball in full motion, with Reed’s and Drake’s guitars a’ blazin.’ By three tracks in, the point where most records are just getting started, New Comes and Goes is already hammering straight home behind the thick five-piece sound of the new-fangled Oranger.
Although New Comes and Goes unleashes a good deal of that ol’ time rock barrage, the record also brings time and space to a whisper at moments. The vulnerable, “Flying Pretend” begins with a slow piano in an empty room. Distant droning guitars and keyboards sketch abandoned depots and expansive twilights to the lonely realization, “I was a stranger who was passing you by.” The understated “Crones,” evinces the communicative spirit of Roxy Music and the mood-stained counterpoint of Pinback. Though the record covers tremendous distances at an often-furious pace, New Comes and Goes succeeds, not because it is trying to be any one thing, but simply because it is.
In a landscape of ever changing trends and sounds, Oranger is content to carve out its very own piece of scenery. Drake sums it up, “We’re either five years behind or 15 years ahead, depending on how you look at it.” Such speculation is irrelevant—new comes and goes.