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Orange The Juice: The Drug Of Choice (CD/DVD)

Talk about a CD that is hard to pigeonhole.

Orange The Juice is an experimental rock band from Poland and have released a couple of studio albums. Their first, You Name It came out in 2008 while their latest The Messiah is Back hit the shelves in 2014. The Drug Of Choice is their new live album which also includes a concert DVD.

The band's lineup is Mariusz Godzina (soprano, alto and tenor sax, bass clarinet), Marcin Jadach (electric bass, double bass, synth bass), Dawid Lewandowski (electric guitar, background vocals), Jan Kiedrzyński (drums), Marcin A. Steczkowski (upright piano, digital stage piano, cornet, alto horn) and Konrad Zawadzki (vocals).

The Drug Of Choice is certainly difficult to describe. First off it should be said these are all excellent musicians and the performance in that regard is top notch. These guys can play, of that there is no doubt. What makes this album completely different is how the band are able to incorporate different genres and musical ideas into a song. This stuff is so off the wall your head will be spinning round till the final song is done. In fact, I almost found this too much to take in one sitting as my mind needed a break from the intensity. Jazz, extreme metal, experimental, ska, reggae, rap, Latin, funk, plus a few more I probably forgot to mention.

"Facing the Monsters" is a short instrumental where shimmering synths lead into a crazy bombardment of discord and heaviness. "Cradle to the Grave" begins with a quaint melody before veering into experimental metal before coming to a halt and a huge bass riff rumbles onward as the music twists and turns like a corkscrew. The vocals are also intense with growling and full out screams which proved a little much for me. The clean vocals are pretty good though taking the music into Latin territory. In "Out Of Place", ska, Latin, soft jazz, ambient and discordant metal are touched upon while "Report" has an eerie atmosphere with intricate guitar riffs, minimalist piano lines and distorted vocals. The brass work has an Herb Alpert feel.

"Blame" is another wild ride taking off kilter tempos and interesting chord progressions into a reggae, ska-like groove before venturing into extreme metal. The whispered vocals are somewhat easier on the ears.

The accompanying DVD has the same track listing except for one extra track, the appropriately titled outro "The End". The footage is clear with a variety of camera angles and varying degrees of close ups. The lighting is pretty basic as it's really all about the playing. I have to admit it's neat to see how these musicians create music so incredibly wacky.

If you dig bands that approach music with the 'everything but the kitchen sink' ideology, Orange The Juice might be the band for you. They certainly have a unique approach to writing and performing that cannot be contained within the four walls of conventional songwriting. For everyone else, you will need to tread cautiously and listen to the samples on the band's website.

Track Listing:
1. Facing the Monsters (1:52)
2. Cradle to the Grave (4:14)
3. Out of Place (7:08)
4. Report (11:06)
5. Blame (5:20)
6. Sabat Mater (4:24)
7. Romanian Beach (3:41)
8. A Story (1:24)
9. Summer Sea (8:10)
10. The Message (7:03)
11. This Way (7:46)
12. I Was Wrong (10:14)
13. Summer Sea Bonus (2:55)

DVD: (track listing the same except for one extra track)
The End (1:05)

Added: February 5th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1903
Language: english

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