You’re standing, waiting for the band to come out on stage while sweaty, hot bodies press up against either side of you and screams ring out from every corner. When they begin to play, the pit hushes in awe as the band becomes possessed by its own music and the singer undresses to his boxers while rolling around on stage. There’s never a dull moment with The Orwells.
The Orwells released its third studio album “Terrible Human Beings” on Friday after spending two and a half years working on it. The album’s cover consists of a naked girl sitting with her back to the camera in a chair with a cigarette in hand in a '50s style hotel room. This perfectly visualizes the sounds found on the album because of its early rock influence.
Following its established indie-garage rock sound, “Terrible Human Beings” brings a more mature side to its sound and lyrics while still honing in on the band’s own youth. Its first single, “Buddy,” was released in October 2016 that was only a minute and a half long but created a great amount of excitement for the full-length album.
The first track, “They Put a Body in the Bayou,” opens with drums and soft guitar sounds that lead into lead guitar player Matt O’Keefe’s classic Orwells sound. This song couldn’t possibly be mistaken for any other band and sets up nicely what’s to be found throughout the rest of the album.
“Take off that plastic crown / coke nose and a pretty sound,” sings Mario Cuomo, the lead singer. What Cuomo, 23, does as a lyricist at such a young age has amazed almost the whole music industry. Instead of writing 13 versions of the same love song, he uses the band’s experiences of growing up in Chicago to address more mature topics that are usually censored by society.
Cuomo has mentioned Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes, and Tyler, the Creator as some of his biggest influencers in music. When listening to Casablancas and The Orwells there’s a distinct resemblance but he isn’t copying at all. Cuomo takes a mix of his favorites to create a whole new sound that’s entirely his own: The Orwells.
Second on the tracklist is the song “Fry.” Not only do we get amazingly poetic lyrics with this song, but the band also proves that it’s more than just vocals. Twin Brothers, Grant and Henry Brinner, stand out immensely. With Henry on drums and Grant on base, they’re never drowned out by the guitars or vocals, which is what makes The Orwells unique as a rock band.
“Black Francis” is the third released single from the album. The song title is actually the stage name of the lead singer of the Pixies, and the band chants “Viva Loma Rica” throughout the track, which is a phrase found in the Pixie’s song “No. 13 Baby.” With its catchy tune and lyrics it’s only a matter of repeats until you start singing “Black Francis” on your own.
One of the last songs on the album is “Last Call (Go Home).” It starts off much slower than the others and emphasizes Grant on bass against O’Keefe and Dominic Corso’s guitars. The drums keep a steady beat as Cuomo croons along to the music, rather than his usual passionate rock vocals.
Cuomo sings, “I’m, I’m in between, happy and mean, waiting on time to stop / And when you go, pleased let me know, if I should sit and rot.” Now that all the men in The Orwells are of drinking age, their music can really take on a deeper meaning as drugs, sex and alcohol may no longer be a mysterious part of life. Here, we can visualize Cuomo sitting in a bar waiting for the last call because now he’s grown out of his rambunctious teenage years.
The last and longest track is “Double Feature.” Because of the long instrumental solo found three minutes in that lasts more than half the entire track, the song really shows off the band’s skills. Again, we can hear a strong bass line played alongside the guitars, which brings a wholesome sound to the music. In the end you may just end up listening to the solos over and over, disregarding the vocals altogether.
“Terrible Human Beings” is truly a remarkable creation by The Orwells. There’s no misjudging it for any other band, which can be good and bad. With this album the band members have really defined who they are and the sound they create, but it will be great to see if in their next album they’re able to create a newer sound that could break The Orwells free from the stereotypical alternative rock scene.
Maddelynne Parker is a sophomore media arts and design major. Contact Maddelynne at email@example.com.