Orestea - 'Elements' Album Review
1. Welcome To Surviville
2. Here's The Plan
4. Ghost Of Letting Go
5. Alive Or Just Existing
8. The Wreckage
9. Got Your Back
10. Burning Bridges
Very few bands manage to fuse Pop and Metal and make it sound good. Survivors of the early naughties ‘Nu-Metal cull’ broke through in part due to their ability to write cracking tunes. Indeed, many Post-Hardcore bands too suffered a same fate. Bands such as Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy and Paramore endured due to their ability to ‘embrace’ Pop and conform to the conventions of Pop-song rather than the usual Alt-Rock affair. Now, before accuse me of ‘going all’ Simon Cowell, I'm not administering bands to go and sell out, I am just stating something which is so blatantly obvious. Its anthem or no anthem, and some bands have them and some don’t. I feel like Orestea are a band in the middle of this juxtaposition. The good news is that they are going in the right direction.
Their songs are catchy, and they contain more hooks than a fisherman's garage. Opening with ‘Welcome To Surviville’ the song starts with weird video game ‘screen selection’ theme then drops into down into big Hard Rock. The verses feature some nice eighth-note guitar stabs, a little No-Doubt perhaps. These chords then take us towards a big industrial half beat, both very ‘Emo’ and very apt and while I am particularly fond of the Matt Bellamy-like synth middle 8, the ‘sugary sweetness’ is in part due to the epic choruses blasted out by vocalist Lisa Avon. ‘Here’s The Plan’ nosedives in like Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Bleed American’ and just like that tune; this song is both fast and furious. Ironically, Avon declares ‘its never gonna work’ in choruses, but she couldn't be further from the truth. This track is contagious, and you will be humming it for weeks. ‘Elements’ next and the song storms in like an angry Iron Maiden only to grab you by the scruff of your neck and throw back into bubblegum Pop Punk. This track really showcases Avon’s vocal dexterity, she goes from deep blues growl to sunny California in seconds, so far so good. ‘Ghost Of Letting Go’ is pure melancholy, and while the opening riff borrows from the Deftones, it is perhaps not as good as our Sacramento boys. Next up is ’Alive or Just Existing’, and while it certainly wouldn’t sound out of place on a Weezer record, it still lacks the ingenuity of the first three tracks.
One of my favourite songs of the record, ’Got Your Back’ bridges Post-Hardcore and Pop-Funk, getting you stomping your feet and bopping your head at the same time. The closer, ’Burning Bridges’, is a song designed to showcase the bands ability to play around with advanced studio technology. Sweet post-rock chords reverberate around and into a monster sized Phil Collins rhythm and I am particularly fond of the ‘cyber’ cello sound that both haunts and dominates the soft chords below. Indeed, this track could be the song that steers the band towards a new playing filed, who knows and who can say?
All I can say, for now, is that Orestea are a band that close to being on par with the likes Panic At The Disco, You Me at Six and the aforementioned No Doubt. They can Rock AND Pop, and, crucially, they know how to write super catchy Pop tunes. I look forward to their headline slot at Download or Leeds five years from now.
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Review - Lewis McWilliam