The Orion Experience: Cosmicandy

The Orion Experience
Cosmicandy
Sweet!
2007-02-02

In a time when music becomes so easily formulaic and repetitive, listeners are constantly looking for something new. Something refreshing. Something so far removed from shoe-gazing alt-rock that it’s almost unrecognisable. Enter the Orion Experience. This band is a welcome splash of colour on an otherwise grey soundscape. 2007 sees the New York outfit’s debut offering, Cosmicandy, and it’s galacti-licious! The album could not have a more apt title — it’s sugar-sweet and vaguely futuristic, yet succeeds in bringing back memories of a simpler time (namely the era of 1970s roller-disco). Cosmicandy is flawless in its delivery, bringing soothing harmonies and a contagious positivity. It leaves a pleasantly treacly sheen around your mouth, and will have you craving more.

Cosmicandy is the premiere work of the Orion Experience, and a more explosive debut would be hard to achieve. Hailing from New York City, the Orion Experience are an eclectic quintet, whose members were handpicked for their personalities, rather than just musical abilities. This process has resulted in a cohesive and overwhelmingly charismatic group, who appear to collaborate as well offstage as they do on it. After playing live shows on the New York circuit for two years, the Orion Experience finally settled down to write, record, and release their debut long-player, earning not only extensive radio air time, but also an endless string of praise from critics the world over.

From the opening number to the final track, Cosmicandy is brimming with lyrical witticisms and smoothly harmonised duets, like those displayed by vocalists Orion Simprini and Linda Horwatt in the ode to debauchery, “Cult of Dionysus”: “I’m feeling devious / You’re looking glamorous / Let’s get mischievous and polyamorous”. The Orion Experience crackle with irreverance, yet genuinely enjoy the music that they create, making it impossible not to become caught up in the blinding enthusiasm. The smooth harmonies on “There’s No Love in February” and “I Love the Stars” provide a lilting contrast to the more frenetic numbers, while maintaining the punchy momentum that the remainder of the album creates.

There is no downside to Cosmicandy — it is consistent in its energy, in its wit, and in its infectiously funky sound. Each track is short, sharp, and ultimately memorable, glowing with a long-forgotten disco-synth energy. Even on the heavily political final track, “Blood & Money”, the anti-war, anti-commercialism lyrics are balanced perfectly by tongue-in-cheek guitars and a bop-along tempo. Cosmicandy gets the formula right — a perfect balance of chunky guitars, cooing backup vocals, and sparking wit.

Spilling over with energetic numbers, each track on Cosmicandy is guaranteed to get toes tapping and hearts beating. Jumping out mid-album is “Adrianne”, a funk-filled Simprini and Horwatt duet, replete with hand-claps and a super-catchy chorus. However, the outstanding number is “Obsession”, an assembly of understated guitars and cleverly syncopated lyrics, recounting the diary of a would-be stalker. Each track is approached with a combination of humour and maturity, creating a definitive sound that is well-honed, while remaining unbelievably fun.

Cosmicandy is an ice cold fruity cocktail in the middle of a summer heat wave. It’s the glitter of a disco ball in a dark room. It’s unashamedly upbeat, crackling from start to finish with incendiary wit, and some of the catchiest hooks this side of disco. Cosmicandy is bewitching in its fervor, and seamless from beginning to end. Sugar-coated and sweet as anything, the Orion Experience come with full doctor’s approval. Cure what ails you, and get your hands on some Cosmicandy.

RATING 8 / 10
PopMatters