By Lizzie Burnham
When Oranjuly was delivered to my inbox, the fleeting hope that they were from The Netherlands came to mind. Even though they are not the Oranje, they are not to be written off. This power pop quintet, whose name consists of orange and July, hails from Boston, Mas., and could successfully brought bubblegum pop back to the forefront of the music world today with the release of their self-titled debut album.
Most people today would automatically associate the term “bubblegum pop” to those boy and girl bands that took off with such ferocity in the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, but they are mistaken. Bubblegum pop, bubblegum music, or simply just bubblegum, emerged in the late 1960s and was gone by the early 1970s due to disco and new wave making headway with the masses. In those few short years though, the genre spawned such bands as The Archies, The Music Explosion, and The Ohio Express to name a few. This music was straightforward in its mission to entertain the younger crowds with simple lyrics and catchy harmonies.
Oranjuly is the closest band to reincarnated bubblegum pop to date. Not to say they are simple, because they are certainly anything but simple. Fronted by Brian King, this band has a multiple layers of harmony and instruments applied to each of the ten songs their 32 minute album has to offer. Though they have only been together as a whole band since 2008, the degree in which this album was executed is that of a band comprised of seasoned veterans.
As the first song, “Her Camera,” starts to play, the immediate reaction is to think of the opening of Mott The Hoople’s, “All The Young Dudes.” However, the song quickly takes an approach nearer that of The Beach Boys. Many of the songs are reminiscent of their California style with a heavier dose of drums, which leaves the listener with a warm feeling as they make their way through the album.
As the CD continues, the comparison to The Beach Boys lessens and the likeness to Weezer’s first two albums, Blue and Pinkerton, are much more evident. Oranjuly comes across as less angst ridden than Weezer, but several of their songs are similar in structure. More specifically, Oranjuly’s “The Coldest Summer” is about as close to “Across The Sea” as one can get without actually copying it. It is musical similarities like this, that with hard work, will propel Oranjuly far in to the music arena.
The rest of Oranjuly’s album is an aural pleasure. It is upbeat music with an effortless blending of harmonies that tackles more serious themes than the bubblegum era. However, it maintains a degree of youthful naivety that cannot help but leave people in a great mood. Put simply, one would be hard pressed not to crack a smile at this feel good music.