Review of Bright Idea Album by Orson

"Bright Idea"

Album Review

Orson Bright Idea Album

Named after legendary actor Orson Welles, this Hollywood quintet formed in 2000, playing what they describe as "two guitar power-pop". Singer Jason Pebworth was drawn to music having heard the likes of Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, and Radiohead, but the band had little success securing a deal in their native land. Their performance at Manchester's In The City showcase soon changed that, and they've since had the most downloaded Itune and a top five single in the UK.

The album's title track "Bright Idea" opens the record in laid-back fashion, washing a simple riff over lazy drums. The song has a touch of funk, and leads into recent single "No Tomorrow", the afore-mentioned record setter. A rock-dance hybrid, its infectiousness makes it easy to understand why it was chosen as the first release from the album. Unfortunately it is a rare highlight, as Orson seem to head for the comfort of soft stadium rock all too often. "Happiness" has a riff that is all too familiar, while "Already Over" is reminiscent of recent (and turgid) Bon Jovi. An up-tempo number in the shape of "Tryin' To Help" does lift the mood momentarily, adding much needed energy and variation, and its lack of substance is fine for anyone who simply wants a fun song.

To their credit Orson do try to fuse their sound with different influences, but it doesn't always work successfully. The ska beat of "So Ahead Of Me" is the basis of a track lacking in impact, while the slow disco rhythm of "Last Night" should be avoided. "Look Around" begins on a lonesome piano and develops into a full-on power ballad, especially for those lighter-waving moments – and is so predictably that it borders on nauseating. The final tracks see the band going back to bouncy pop rock, with "The Okay Song" being perhaps the best indicator of Orson's music. They don't try to push boundaries, and can be placed in the same category as Maroon 5 – a soft rock band that is a record label's dream, because the chances are they'll be hugely successful.

Alex Lai

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