SONIC ORANGE  

Reviews:

AArising | Although.nu | APA The Magazine | Britishrock E-Zine | Café du Nord | Indie-Music.com
International Artist Online | Kaytronika, UK | KindaMusik Not Lame Recordings | Rock Under
Phase 45 | Popbang.com | Raspberry & Lavendar |Soundnova | Suite101.com | The Sun

Heidi Drockelman, Indie-Music.com, USA
CD:
Sonic Orange (Phase 45 Records)
Style:
Driving Pop
Quote:
"Sonic Orange has learned the fine art of subtlety".

Like its fruity, tasty namesake, Sonic Orange is instantly appealing, full of meaty texture with just the right amount of sweetness. This self-titled EP starts off innocently, with a mild-mannered, well-crafted pop song that pulls you into a world of simple melody and harmony. Before you know it, your ears are being gently egged on and assimilating to the easy, non-aggressive style that gently infects as it continues to play. By the time you’ve reached the fourth and final song, the feeling is that, well, you must push play again because you may have missed something.

What is most appealing about this particular effort is the potential. Sonic Orange has learned the fine art of subtlety. That doesn’t mean that this is lo-fi as opposed to screaming guitar pop or bouncy teen pop. They walk that fine line that balances above all areas of pop, but doesn’t succumb to everyday trappings. It’s not something that I necessarily got on the first listen, because this is the type of knowledge that develops after you become familiar with the band. There were many times that I couldn’t precisely pinpoint why I became attracted to this disc, but I think it boils down to the texture of the sound, as opposed to what was necessarily being said. Vocally, Ollie Moore, Jr. hits somewhere as a cross between Matthew Sweet, Live’s Ed Kowalchyk, and the harmonic quality of the band the Fly Seville. It’s familiar, but doesn’t tread on the same territory as those artists. All the players here are solid, but it’s their sound as a whole sonic unit that makes this disc really work. Great harmonies add even more depth and punch to simple themes and melodies.

This band has a great base to jump off of, I can’t wait to see them develop their potential on a full-length effort.

Douglas Shoback, Although.nu, USA
SONIC ORANGE EP 
There’s always been something unseemly about pop music. On one hand, the catchy hooks and bubbly lyrics of pop induce an almost uninhibited hedonism in me. The music floats in a haze, bubbling up from the speaker and exploding with pretty colors and noises. I can’t help but listen. On the other hand, I feel guilty for liking such empty music. I mean, usually, pop is forgettable—existing only in the moment and then dispersing. This is partly the reason I’ve turned away from pop music. The genre seems bankrupt, recycling itself layer upon layer in a Pomo induced coma. The only new ideas coming from pop are the ironic reinterpretations of the past. Nothing is meaningful and everything is ironic. I was just about to give up on pop music. Then, I received a copy of Sonic Orange’s self-titled album in the mail. This album convinced me that pop music is not dying but is being reinterpreted, without irony, on small labels and in independent bands. Pop has been saved from itself.

Sonic Orange comes straight out of San Francisco, California. The band is composed of Ollie Moore Jr (lead/backing vocals), Steve Chang (bass/backing vocals), Joe Bettencourt (guitars) with Steve Silva (drums) and Dennis Moorehouse (drums) contributing on several tracks. What separates this band from the countless other pop clones coming out of California is front man Ollie Moore Jr’s earnestness. Moore sounds like he would be lost on the radio, his voice blending into the countless other tenors of pop and pop-punk bands. Yet, his voice remains unique through a slight raspiness, a hint of breaking vocals, an off key note resolved instantly. In “Sisters and Brothers”—the second track of the four track album—Moore’s voice blends perfectly with the bouncing distortion of the guitar, singing “I can’t help / but give my life to you” with such a total lack of irony, you can’t help but believe him. His voice hints at a smile, almost laughter, like he’s making a joke but not quite. There is truth in his words, devoid of any postmodern ironic contextual interpretation nonsense. In other words, Sonic Orange transcends their peers bringing meaning back to pop music.

This is better shown on the third track “A Far From You.” The slowest track on the album, “A Far From You” starts with ringing, plucked guitars shining over bouncing drumbeats. The effect is both ethereal and grounded. Sonic Orange is looking to the skies but only from their placement firmly on the earth. Moore lazily sings “Outside my world there’s life / and love and laughter / though within these walls my tormented soul you’re after / once again I’m stuck here miles and miles away from you / and I guess there’s just one thing that’s left for me to do.” From a less talented band, these lyrics would seem cliché and—to be frank—hokey. But Sonic Orange reclaims them. Moore sings the words with optimism in his voice, believing the words he is singing only in the realm of his own individuality. The words have meaning only through Moore’s voice. These lyrics are not indebted to the past—at least not in the postmodern sense—but to Moore himself in the present as he is singing them. Gone are references to the past, the winking nods of irony. Sonic Orange is both pure and honest, something lacking in today’s modern wasteland of pop-irony.

According to the band’s website, the first track of the album “A Little Luck” is being considered to be featured on MTV’s The Real World and Road Rules. Yet, “A Little Luck” is the weakest track on the album. Guitars grind away in a distortion haze, bouncing on pop hooks, the drums melt into the background, unnoticed, and Moore sounds canned and artificial. The music is good but it’s nothing special. It does nothing new, unlike the tracks following it.

The strongest song on the album is “Lay Down”, coincidentally the last track. There is a slight country twang to the music, Moore’s sharp tenor drawling over a quiet acoustic guitar. The song seems to settle into a lethargic lope, broken by chugging guitars of the chorus and Moore singing “I know you have a heart / sometimes.” It is this moment that the song breaks, pulled between the quiet western lope leading up to the tightening chorus. Moore’s voice hints at breaking, never resolved, but always on the edge. This is honest music, control maintained, but a breaking point always hinted. This is perfect pop music.

Sonic Orange is on the verge of something great. With the vast emptiness of meaning within pop music today, Sonic Orange brings a much-needed honesty to the genre. I really wish I lived on the west coast. I would love to catch Sonic Orange in concert. From the messages left on their website, they apparently put on an amazing live show.

However, if their album is an indicator of their talent, I’m sure that I’ll be hearing much more from this band.

Kaytronika, UK
SONIC ORANGE - A Little Luck

Yes, they have a truly awful name, but this is alright.  Opener 'A Little Luck' is a bit Third Eye Blind, kind of breezy American college rock.  'Sisters and Brothers' is equally light, it's a laid back summery strum along, with a guitar lick carved from pure sunshine.  Singing drummer Ollie Moore Jr. has an appropriately rawled vocal lilt, and the whole thing is carried along on a warm groove completely unsuited to the absolute shit weather we're having today (it's sleeting outside as I type this).

Johnny Kim - Producer/Director of Raspberry & Lavender, USA
Sonic Orange is probably one of the best upcoming bands yet to be discovered by a massive audience. "A Little Luck" is truly a great song! 

Café du Nord, USA  
SONIC
ORANGE feature members of Jupiter Sun, and their sound is a catchy indie-pop party that dabbles in yesteryear's shoegazing influences.

Suite101.com, USA
Unsigned Bands Of Note 
Hailing from San Jose, Ca, Sonic Orange incorporates the straightforward pop-rock of bands like Third Eye Blind and Dishwalla in their self-titled EP.

Phase 45 Records, USA
SONIC ORANGE EP 
"Rarely does a band come along that is in tune with the melodic genius of the 60's, but yet maintains the modern edge of today's music. Sonic Orange already takes claim to that notion, and is soon to be regarded as the best up and coming guitar pop band the world has ever seen. Set for a late 2002 release is their self-titled debut album. This four song EP is filled with tasty hooks and mouth-watering melodies that are sure to get your body grooving."

Joris Heemskerk, KindaMusik, Amsterdam
SONIC ORANGE EP 
Zo eindigt de biografie van Sonic Orange. De jongens lijken me niet erg bescheiden. Het rockt er ook gelijk in met 'A Little Luck', een Jimmy Eat World-achtig collegerock anthem. Een zure oprisping Avril Lavigne/ Sum 41/ Third Eye Blind komt gelijk opzetten. De stukgelopen relaties worden uitvoerig bezongen, ".....it's time to break the rules, try walking in my shoes and when you think you're over me, I'll break your heart oh yes I do....". Dit zijn echte grote mensen zorgen natuurlijk die het verdienen vol passie bezongen te worden. Het nummer schijnt al toepasselijk gebruikt te zijn voor MTV's The Real World. Een voorloper van Big Brother waar relaties keer op keer supersonisch op de klippen liepen.

'Sister And Brothers' het tweede nummer gaat nog een stapje verder. “I wanna get by on this institution, sisters and brothers in a revolution”, de teksten moeten hier met een enorme korrel zout genomen worden, wil je niet meteen de cd uit je cdspeler rukken en erop gaan zitten. Het koelt wat af na deze twee nummers en het gaat al wat meer de goeie kant op. 'A Far From You' begint lekker met een frisse gitaarpingel. De teksten natuurlijk wederom simpel van aard en vol relatiebeslommeringen. Hier in vergelijking met de voorgaande nummers zeker iets pakkends in de manier van zingen. Een ingetogen stukje waar de kwaliteiten wat meer boven komen borrelen is 'Lay Down' een akoestische college ballade die als afsluiter het beste van deze EP biedt. Eén voor één aardige poprock songs zonder veel extras behalve het hoge pubergehalte in de teksten. 

Britishrock E-Zine, Austria
Sonic Orange EP 
Die Kalifornier Sonic Orange kommen aus San Francisco, ihre erste kleine selbstbetitelte Scheibe wurde von Ollie Moore (Vocals), Steve Chang (Bass), Joe Bettencourt (Guitars), Steve Silva (Drums) und Dennis Moorehouse (Drums) produziert. Eine Mischung aus Pop/Rock auf insgesamt 4 Songs der EP wartet auf den Hörer. Der stärkste Song des Albums ist 'Lay Down', ein akustischer Gitarrensong begleitet von Country Hooks und Basslines. 'A Little Luck' wurde bereits auf MTV's The Real World und Road Rules vorgetragen. Sänger Ollie Moore, meint zu seiner Musik: 'Die Musik ist gut aber nichts es ist nichts Besonderes. Wir wollten nichts neues machen, wir wollen einfach gute Popmusik produzieren und nicht irgendwie mit Musik herumexperimentieren.' Ihre perfekte Popmusik und ihr Album ist ein Indikator ihres Talents, man kann sicher sein, daß man von Sonic Orange noch jede Menge hören wird. Demnächst: Gewinne eine Sonic-Orange CD! 

More Reviews:
A Little Luck  (Track 1)
A Far From You
 
(Track 3)

Jason Goldman-Hall, The Sun, USA
Teens have a bash at The Crash

"Safe," "clean" and "city-funded" are not adjectives often associated with do-it-yourself rock garages. And Saturday-night music clubs aren't usually promoted to the community as safe, wholesome places for teenagers to congregate.

Until now.

Taking a cue from the very groups it's trying to reach out to, the city of Sunnyvale has gotten into the "do-it-yourself" music venue business, and so far, it's reportedly defying expectations--and filling several much-needed niches at the same time.

"We're looking to get the word out that there are things for teens to do in the Bay Area, things they can do to relax, and it doesn't have to just be mini-golf or movies," said Teen Advisory Committee President Justin Reginato, 16, a junior at Saint Francis High School. "Teens like to go to concerts, so we're trying to give them someplace local to go."

Under-18 music clubs are hard to find in any area, and with high school performing arts programs falling under budget cuts, entertainment for teens in the area is going faster than your average punk album.

"Anything for teens, especially music like this or any kind of art, is good for them," said Sonic Orange guitarist Adam Gonzalez, 23, who performed last in the concert. "They don't even have a performing arts program at my high school anymore."

On Sept. 25, three bands--including Sonic Orange--joined two dozen Sunnyvale-area high school students for the year's first show at The Crash, held in the Fair Oaks Park building. Admission was only $5 for nonresidents and $3 for residents, but everyone had to have a valid ASB card from one of the area's high schools.

The last Saturday of each month during the school year, the Fair Oaks Park building will transform into The Crash, with a snack bar, PlayStation 2 and--of course--concert room.

Members of the Teen Advisory Committee and their adviser, Sunnyvale provisional teen coordinator Staci Wolfe, put the event together. City staff trained students to operate the lights and mixing boards for the bands, making the place more concert-friendly. According to some of the bands that played, the curtains and blankets put on the wall to hide the boring walls of the building actually improved the acoustics of the room.

The Crash is the next generation of The Fishbowl, the Saturday night hangout that used to be held at Le Boulanger.

"The No. 1 priority is to provide a place for high school teens to go, and music is a big part of their lives," Wolfe said. "But there is not a whole lot of opportunities for students under 18 to socialize; there's very few venues in the Bay Area that cater to their age group. That's why we're calling it The Crash, because they're crashing with their friends and listening to music."

While attendees were limited to students with valid high school identification, the bands were established staples of the Bay Area's local rock scene, many of which frequent clubs inaccessible to high school students.

The headliner of the night was Sonic Orange, a regular at downtown San Jose 21-and-over venues. The band had to obey a strict code of conduct or forfeit the $75 it would earn from the night.

"We typically say more adult-oriented things onstage, but we don't need to cuss to have fun--just some groovy people," Gonzalez said. "And there were plenty of groovy kids out there."

Most of those "groovy kids" were 14- and 15-year-old girls, who spent much of the night on the club's various beanbags and chairs but got up to dance in the latter half of the show. Many of them stuck around afterward to meet the band.

Fremont High School sophomore Elizabeth Thomas, Teen Advisory Committee historian, said she was surprised how well it went and loved that she got to see bands normally out of reach for people her age.

She and fellow committee member Michele LaPointe, 14, said advertising is the last thing they need to take care of if The Crash is going to take off.

"I think it's really great, and I want to get my friends out here," Michele--a freshman at Homestead High School--said. "We need to promote like crazy now."

Justin said he was surprised because he had not gotten to hear any of the demos sent in by the bands who played.

"I didn't know what to expect, but they were awesome," Justin said.

Wolfe said that while she had no doubt that teens would show up to opening night, she was surprised by the quality of bands that performed. The organizers are already listening to demos from bands for their next few shows.

"I thought the music was great. We had three great bands, and the people there seemed to be having a good time," Wolfe said. "With it being our first time, I think it can only get better from here."

Rock Under - Argentina
Sonic Orange EP
El EP de esta banda esta compuesto por cuatro canciones: las dos primeras en tienen un estilo mas Weezer (salvando las millas de distancia), con guitarras distorsionadas al frente y coros que acompañan casi todo el tiempo; las otras dos donde bajan un poco el tiempo y se deslizan canciones más suaves, guitarras limpias y estribillos pegadizos. Un disco equilibrado, que no innova pero resulta agradable escucharlo.

Soundnova, USA
Sonic Orange 
As I write this, it's rather late in the night, with rain tapping against the window and little rumbles of thunder scattered infrequently as the four-song EP from Sonic Orange spins round and round for its sixteen-minute duration. Good time to a review an album? For this one, damn right. Laid back tunes with a modern rock vibe decorate this album, at times, such as on the closing track "Lay Down" even an eerie country feel for a few seconds.

Everyone needs an album to come home and relax to after a long day. This one is easily capable of filling that roll. Both relaxing and mood setting, the album carries on about the normal love topics, throw in a verse about revolution in "Sisters And Brothers", and you have a brief glimpse into what Sonic Orange is about.

While still to early and brief in duration to find out what Sonic Orange is all about and what their future may hold, for some, this may fill the roll well of an album to mellow out too.

AArising, USA
Artist: Sonic Orange
Title: Sonic Orange
Genre: Rock/Pop
Rating: 4 Stars/Great!
By: Nelson

San Jose, California based rock band, Sonic Orange, is a band worth listening to. Their head-bobbing rock edged music pulses through the veins with an infectious rhythm reminiscent of music past. You can definitely feel a great energy from the music. Makes me want to see them live! This 4-track EP gives the listener a taste and leaving them wanting more. Vocals are smooth with great harmonies, musicianship is good, and production is good. This band could definitely become the next popular band of the next MTV generation. Well worth listening to.

Favorite Picks: "A Little Luck" and "A Far From You"

Not Lame Recordings, USA
Sonic Orange - s/t (CD EP) A bright, sparkling and promising 4 song CD EP! Sonic Orange features members of Jupiter Sun and have a sound that recalls Weezer on a shoegazing trail on a sunny day with gentle melodies, tasty hooks and carefully blended sweet and slightly crunchy guitars.

Popbang Radio, USA
Sonic Orange  - "A Little Luck"  San Jose's Sonic Orange doesn't waste any time capturing the hook.  This lead off track from their wonderful 4 song EP is 3 minutes of pop bliss.  Strong production, songwriting, and harmonies make this ear candy from a band that has a strong and growing following.  

Asia Pacific Arts Online Magazine, USA
Music: Sonic Orange 
The increasingly popular indie-pop band Sonic Orange will be playing at Borders Books and Music in San Francisco on September 20th 2003. Led by lead vocalist and drummer Olie, this three-man band takes indie-pop to a whole new level. Known for their "melodic genius" and hip, modern-day edgy sounds, Sonic Orange is a catchy, head bobbing live band that will be sure to get you asking for more! Hosted by musician, Mica Lee Williams, they will be performing for the USA Song Writing Competition Showcase.

Jeff Lease, International Artist Online, Australia
Sonic Orange - Self Titled
Defined as "A sugar spun splendor of citrus waves moving at the speed of sound", Sonic Orange blend rhythm and melody on their debut, self titled independent release. A series of tasteful pop songs, the band relies heavily on mellow guitar sounds and the vocal harmonizing of it's songwriters - Olie Moore and Steve Chang. Good chill out music, the dreamy guitar parts in "A Far From You" approach the listener like a warm summer breeze and "Lay Down" is a well written track about love lost but not forgotten. Easy going and explorative Sonic Orange well crafted pop songs are inspiring and heartfelt. (Phase 45 Records)

 

 


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