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Wild Sweet Orange

We Have Cause To Be Uneasy

(Canvasback; US: 29 Jul 2008; UK: Available as import)

Wild Sweet Orange hail from Birmingham, Alabama, and manage a nice balance between the fog of southern August steam and the immediate punch of power pop. On stand-out tracks such as “Ten Dead Dogs” and “House of Regret”, the band mixes an unbridled, swelling-in-the-chest intensity with a textured musical palate. The Rhodes and guitar, the bass and the percussion, all ride together before they crest, white and fierce, and crash on you. And Preston Lovinggood’s sweet roll of a voice pulls you into the songs, soothes you into a calm, and then breaks that calm with lyrics filled with haunting images and sad observations—“You don’t know which is scarier,” he sings at one point, “your door open or closed.” 


The band is best on We Have Cause to Be Uneasy when they toe that line between melody and frenetic energy. At times, as in “Tilt” and “Seeing and Believing”, the band pulls off all the restraints, turning up the amps and letting Lovinggood’s voice burst into an emo-shout. And it is those moments that fail when compared to more tempered tracks, like the haunting closer “Land of No Return”. The more strident songs also show an overuse of death images in the lyrics, where people look like dead bodies or feel like death, and it comes across as melodramatic, particularly when Lovinggood is so much sharper in other spots. But still, it is hard to dismiss an album with this much energy and this much heart. There may be some missteps, but Wild Sweet Orange are never anything short of earnest and distinctly themselves. We Have Cause to Be Uneasy may just be the first step in a solid career for these guys.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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Wild Sweet Orange - Ten Dead Dogs (Live on The Late Show with David Lettermen)
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5 Feb 2008
Sparkling with the luster of seemingly unlimited potential, Birmingham, Alabama's Wild Sweet Orange is a perfect five-for-five as far as delivering excellent songs on this recent EP.
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