Orange - Welcome to the World Of... (Cover Artwork)


Welcome to the World Of... (2005)


Plenty of teenagers have started bands. Some have never made it past a basement practice, let alone a first gig. Still others have left behind some valuable pieces of music that have stood the test of time. Think about how young the members of Minor Threat or Operation Ivy were, and yet we still play those albums today. Let's not kid ourselves though; bands that strike a chord that is that big and resonates for this long at such a young age are few and far between. So while Orange may be the envy of all their peers for gaining access to Tim Armstrong's fold, they have not produced a rare underage gem.

On Welcome to the World Of…, Orange have taken a paint-by-numbers approach to their pop-punk sound. They are simply content to use the colors asked for, stay within the lines, and hang up the finished product in a shiny new frame. The production is slick, the songwriting is formulaic, and unfortunately, those are the album's good points. Otherwise Orange have a lot work to do.

The band's sound is typical pop-punk that utilizes rehashed chord progressions, typical verse/chorus structures, and a soft to loud dynamic that is all too predictable. Orange do have a bag of tricks, but it isn't very deep, and they end up using the same ones over and over. For example, just check out how on the final chorus of most songs, a guitar lead suddenly kicks in, or how nearly every riff on the album sounds like someone merely sliding up and down on one string. The two hidden tracks seem to be the only place the band changes up their tone, and those tracks (one has diabolic laughter and crunchy metal chords, while the other is merely an acoustic version of a song from the album) seem to fare just as poorly.

Because the songs are power pop-punk in the vein of the Matches and polished by the production 'till they're blind, the vocals need to serve as the driving force here, and unfortunately, they don't. Instead, singer Joe Denman's voice is frail and unconvincing. His "snarl" sounds like it is coming from the confines of a comfortable studio, not the heart, and his lyrics do nothing to aid his weak delivery. Whether it is a Kelly Osbourne-like rant of "The sky is blue / the grass is green / blah blah blah / you know what I mean," the downright embarrassing "From the E to the O to the stereo / pimpin' on the mic like a 12 dollar hoe / we're dressed, ready to rock at the sound of a clock," or the struggling-to-be punk cry of, "Get lost / I don't want to see you again / cus you were never my friend / fuck off and die / you motherfucking piece of shit," Denman comes up short.

Yeah, they are young and still have plenty of time to develop, but often a band's most fiery output comes early in their career. Instead, Orange seem all too willing to embrace a smooth and safe sound that is surprisingly angst free.