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Orphan Project: Orphan Found

At the bottom of every page of Orphan Project's web site are the words: "We are all orphans until..." And that defines the band's debut concept album which loosely tracks an orphan's birth, adoption, search for identity, and finding religion. It's a sweeping concept with heartfelt lyrics penned and sung by the band's co-founder Shane Lankford, himself an orphan.

The sound on Orphan Project is best described as progressive hard rock in the vein of Enchant. Imagine a heavier version of Asia - or a more proggy U2 or Journey, and the introduction of strong violin and cello lines beg for a favorable Kansas comparison. Some of the instrumental sections hint at metal, particularly some of the guitar sections, but it would be a mistake to call this prog-metal. Imagine a more AOR-oriented version of early Spock's Beard. Lankford sings with a strong rough-edged style - not the most melodic voice you'll hear, but his pitch control is very good and his heartfelt sincerity shines through in every note - and that probably defines this record more than anything: The simple honesty, the pure emotion, and the deep-seated faith that drives this band.

Orphan Project makes no secret of its strong Christian faith, and Orphan Found has been successful in Christian music circles. But don't write this off as another preachy gospel record. Yes, there are a few frank expressions of religious beliefs - but this CD is about the orphan's journey and can easily be appreciated by any aficionado of intelligent, hard-edged rock.

Although every song showcases the band's very strong musicianship each song has a similar tone, energy and timbre - and you can't help thinking that the introduction of an all-instrumental piece, a softer ballad, or perhaps backing vocals from different voices would help mix it up a little more.

Standout tracks are "See What He Sees" and - particularly - the last 2 tracks "Coming Into View III" and "Outro". Play those two pieces as a unit and you're rewarded with a microcosm of the whole album. It begins with ethereal keys played over lapping waters, then enter Lankford's singing - which may be stronger here than anywhere else. Corelli's simple but elegant keys provide a warm texture that plays against the understated but wonderful guitar work that is one of the album's biggest strengths. It fades into the Outro, which closes with a minute of a soft female choir, fading back into the sounds of lapping water. And as you're reaching for the replay button it's hard to remember that this is a debut album.

Track Listing:
1. Coming Into View I (6:25)
2. Chosen (6:00)
3. Full But Lonely (4:01)
4. Leaving My Seat at the Table (6:11)
5. Trickle Down (4:27)
6. Coming Into View II (5:17)
7. See What He Sees 4:11)
8. Orphan Found (5:08)
9. Parts As One (4:35)
10.Paupers Unfulfilled (5:13)
11.Coming Into View III (7:01)
12.Outro (1:05)

Added: November 12th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Orphan Project's Web Site
Hits: 3441
Language: english

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