Punk's Alive and it's in Chicago: The Orwells' Dual EP Review
Teen garage rockers The Orwells have released two EPs less than three months apart while they tour the US with FIDLAR.
From the opening chord of their June 26th release Other Voices, The Orwells nailed it. The track maintains the band’s concentrated punk energy from their debut album, Remember When without losing any momentum. The EP includes two other new tracks as well as two bonus tracks: a version of “Other Voices” produced by Dave Sitek, and a live version of the hit from their debut, “Mallrats.”
Typical Orwells: refreshing, new, yet sounds like the dirty punk you can’t believe your dad listened to. The kind of music that makes you wonder: why can’t more bands pull this off?
Who Needs Youm released September 10 and produced entirely by Sitek, includes a similar mix of new and bonus tracks. The title track delivers the electricity and grit we've come to expect, yet a political message that deviates from The Orwells' norm. It's catchy, it's angry, it's perfect. The other three songs on the EP pad this anthem: two excellent covers, one of The Misfits' "Open Your Eyes", and one of The Black Lips' "Salvation is a Parking Lot". An Orwells fan will appreciate the final track: a live recording of "Halloween All Year" from "Remember When."
Between Other Voices and Who Needs You, The Orwells could have put out a second album rather than two EP's with only a couple of new, original tracks each. That may have been more satisfying than receiving just these nuggets of fresh material cushioned by bonus tracks. Hopefully, they have something else, something greater in store for fans soon.
The Orwells' new EPs are raw, closer to the violence of their live performances and further from the theatrical finishings to tracks such as “All the Cool Kids” from their debut.
And that’s alright, because The Orwells are a band you have to see live.
I saw The Orwells at Chicago’s Schubas. Front man Mario Cuomo commanded the stage with the rabid charisma of a nineteen year old Axl Rose: shaking, sweating, eyes rolling. I fought to stay front and center. I had no choice. No one did. He charmed the crowd.
After leaving the show at Schubas, I spotted Mario and his band mates leaning against the venue’s brick wall. I spoke like fan in a trance:
“Can I hug you?” He smirked, looked down at his sweat soaked hair and torn shirt, asked, “You sure?” I nodded, embraced him awkwardly.
I wasn’t sure what to say, except, “You’re definitely gonna make it!”
He smirked again, chuckled, said, “Yep, we know.”