To be frank, the approach from Echo Orbiter to request a review on this site wasn’t one which filled me with great anticipation. Claiming to have recorded in hiding for ten years, this either indicated a charming lack of confidence in their own ability or perhaps the realisation that the band weren’t actually any good. Further research, however, indicates that this Philadelphia act (formed by brothers Justin and Colin Emerle) were on the verge of greatness but decided to withdraw from publicity; instead releasing albums to such a limited amount of people they have been sharing their music with just friends and family until recently. So it is quite a privilege to be able to say that their latest album is actually rather ace.
In very simple terms, Echo Orbiter make the kind of music The Flaming Lips might have made just before they became big. They think nothing of using lyrics like “Mortgage rates going through the roof” accompanied by space rock backing. At times they make incredibly catchy records such as ‘Who Does That Remind You Of?’ and ‘Do You Like It’ or employ their heroically off-kilter vocals and spiky guitars to dominate mid-point highlights ‘Crown Of Jewel’ and ‘Back On The Map’. ‘Time Slides Faster Away’ is even better; the melodies soar and the vocals are full of frazzled heartache whilst the relatively conventional ‘Hungry For Fame’ proves they can do nice, homely music too.
Other than that, ‘Orphan Kids…’ is a collection of superb three-minute pop bursts, butchered and bludgeoned by brothers who probably should get out more. I forgot to mention, though, it’s also rather wonderful.
The Echo Orbiter MySpace
The Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, The Umbrella Sequence