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Orange Sky: Upstairs

The small country of Trinidad has not exactly been known as a major exporter of hard rock bands to North America however that may soon change as soon as Orange Sky hits these shores this fall. Already named International Ambassadors by the country's Ministry of Tourism, the band has secured Kansas drummer Phil Ehart as a co-manager and enlisted the services of producer Jeff Glixman, who has worked with the likes of Paul Stanley and Black Sabbath, to produce their superb debut CD titled Upstairs. The bands sound and style is not complex, it is for the most part straight ahead melodic hard rock, however their strength lies directly in the very nature of the songs themselves and the positive messages contained in the lyrics.

Upstairs features 12 really solid tracks which prove that the band not only knows how to fire up the hard rock riffs as well as any of their contemporaries but also shows that they're not afraid to mix things up a bit and show their diversity and that in my opinion is the bands trump card. Orange Sky seem just as comfortable acknowledging the musical influence of The Wailers as Black Sabbath on this disc as they pump out one anthem after another.

Lead vocalist / guitarist Nigel Rojas has got a great voice and possesses enough balls in his vocal delivery to propel each and every song with the greatest of ease while the band consistently delivers behind him keeping the songs tight and the grooves loose. There are quite a few serious choices for singles on Upstairs and the fact that I was still humming many of these tracks days after listening to them has to prove that point somewhat. Check out their awesome cover of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train", a song which has lost none of its lyrical power and is just as relevant today if not more so than when it was originally recorded; they did a great interpretation of this song. At times the bands sound reminded me of why I first enjoyed Living Colour the first time I heard them, the same goes for a band like POD, who were also effectively able to mix a heavier sound with reggae infused rhythms. Orange Sky have successfully taken their roots rock and given it a modern feel which in turn has adds a refreshing element to their songs, this is something that will eventually distance them from their competitors.

Track Listing
1 - It's Over
2 - Escape
3 - Beautiful Day
4 -Tug Of War
5 - Angel
6- Alone
7 - Peace Train
8 - Cast Away
9 - Real Love
10 - Dogs
11 - Fallin'
12 - Alive

Added: January 8th 2006
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4828
Language: english

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Orange Sky: Upstairs
Posted by Butch Jones, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-08 07:26:04
My Score:

The full length debut, Upstairs (Granite Records) by Trinidad's own Orange Sky, is a 12 song CD that looks to put them on the map, here in the US. Produced by Jeff Glixman ( Black Sabbath, Saxon, Kansas), the quintet blends reggae, calypso and rock 'n roll into an interesting mix. Their mix is simply something not heard before.

Upstairs is best described as a mixture of Bob Marley meets Living Colour. The highlight on this debut is the haunting, reggae flavored cover of the Cat Stevens' classic, "Peace Train". Orange Sky have a loyal following back in the Caribbean, and look to take their melting pot of musical expression to the next level, but this record seems to lack that "hook" to drag you in.

Orange Sky seems to miss the mark a bit with this release. Not quite Pop enough for the mainstream, and not quite Rockin' enough for Simple Plan generation. The listener finds themselves confused a bit with their style and their direction. All and all a decent debut.

Orange Sky: Upstairs
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-05 21:36:47
My Score:

The Orange Sky is definitely one of the more unique groups to come across my listeners queue in a long time. I can honestly say that I come to this conclusion based on the methods in which they deliver their music to the listener. Bands that blend elements of their home countries traditional melodies with their Rock are no longer strange to those who have been exposed to the Folks Metal/Rock stylings of Finntroll or Korpiklaani but when it came to the Orange Sky there was yet another avenue of approach. The band who hails from Trinidad and Tobego have taken a largely Caribbean feel and tapered it rich guitar melodies and vocal harmonies. The result is quite the tasty brand of Rock and Roll. Overall the record is very accessible and the songs have moments when they truly Rock and other times when there is a subtlety that works for the particular track. Tracks that rock from start to finish are evident in "Escape" which is a quick paced number that you will find yourself tapping and playing a little air guitar along to. "Tug Of War" is perhaps the heaviest of the songs and runs a nice rhythm pattern at the main verses. "Alone" is an interesting track which breaks into an almost Bare-Naked Ladies segment which works and also comes across perfectly in the live sense. These songs and "Beautiful Day" seemed to be my most favored of the record and like anything else you need to give this album more than a cursory listen because after your first take you might not catch it. As your second listen begins the band wins you over. Cat Stevens classic "Peace Train" gets a pretty straightforward cover on the record and I found it to be pretty good as well. The band is made up of Nigel Rojas (vocals, guitar), Nicholas Rojas (bass), Adam Murray (rhythm guitar), Obasi Springer (drums), and Richard Hall (keyboard) and together this quintet brings something a little different to the mix.

The band includes a DVD sampler of their "Live In Trinidad" concert film and from this you can see that the band delivers in performance. The lyrics are presented on a full color fold out booklet and as you read them you will find them well-thought out and positive. This is a recommendation for those who like a little change of pace in their Rock and who are also open enough to realize that the playing board is expanding more and more each day.

Orange Sky: Upstairs
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-10 14:43:09
My Score:

It's understandable why Yngwie Malmsteen pegged Orange Sky to open a series live dates in 2005. Here's a young band from Trinidad (of all places) that recently released a confident, genre-defying debut album pulling from such far-ranging influences as Living Colour, P.O.D., Ozzy Osbourne, Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Blues Traveler and King's X but not Kansas, which is surprising considering that Kansas drummer Phil Ehart manages Orange Sky and that Leftoverture producer Jeff Glixman oversaw the production of Upstairs. Malmsteen obviously saw an opportunity to bolster his own cred while introducing a worthy, hip band to new listeners. On the other hand, Orange Sky also appears to be an odd choice, as the band's music emerges as the antithesis of Malmsteen's work. The dozen songs on Upstairs are concise, crunchy and bursting with personality; the same doesn't always hold true with the grand guitarist. And live, Orange Sky's opening set no doubt contains just as many songs as Yngwie's headlining set.

Highlights of Upstairs include the catchy opener "It's Over," the emotion-drenched "Beautiful Day" and the reggae-tinged "Real Love." Lead guitarist Nigel Rojas, who also is the band's lead singer, boasts a deft touch, sending solos spiraling toward the heavens on "Escape" and the album's penultimate track "Alive," and then down-tuning on the finale, "Falling," while the rest of the band knows its role and doesn't venture far from it. The result makes Orange Sky sound like a much more concise and experienced band than its rookie status indicates.

Upstairs comes with a DVD featuring a documentary and live footage, which offers proof why Tobago's Ministry of Tourism has officially named members of Orange Sky international ambassadors.

Orange Sky: Upstairs
Posted by Steve Ambrosius, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-10-12 16:21:31
My Score:

Orange Sky are the definition of CRUNCH. The heavy riffs, fills, and rhythms leave little space in these songs. The music crashes into you like waves so large you could surf them. Much of the music reminds me of Blues Traveler without the harmonica. Other comparisons would include Unified Theory and early Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Upstairs contains 12 straight ahead rockers that rely heavily on the bass grooves that drive the music with power-chord guitar work that flesh out the songs. Guitar solos/fills are plentiful but really are not anything that will blow you away. Vocals are clear and precise, but do contain a heavy accent. The production quality is solid, although the mix is a little heavy and some instruments get lost.

Highlights include "Alone", "Cast Away", and "It's Over". I would have preferred to not have heard another version of "Peace Train", but the sound does fit the overall mood of the CD. Upstairs will appeal to any lovers of Hard Rock that like an excessive amount of crunch in their guitar work. This CD will rock you, but also doesn't overwhelm you as the 50 minutes go by quickly making you want more.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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