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THE Orange Humble Band
Depressing Beauty
Label: Citadel Records (Australia)
Catalogue No: (CITCD585)
Format: CD (gatefold cardboard packaging)
Released: May 22nd
Price: $ 25.00
 
The Orange Humble Band - Depressing Beauty
It's been a long wait but Darryl Mather has put it together again. If Assorted Creams and Humblin' Across America were your kettle of fish you are going to love this. Featuring an all star cast of session players whose pedigree includes The Posies and Big Star this could well be the release of the year!

Ornate specialised packaging and individually numbered!
Tracklisting: (59:58 m:s)
  1. You Close Your Eyes (D Twilley) (4:18 m:s)
  2. The Girl Without A Name (D Mather / D Twilley / Orange Humble Band) (3:45 m:s)
  3. Conversations With Myself (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (4:12 ms)
  4. Sowannadoit (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (3:51 m:s)
  5. Ain't Tougher Than Me (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (5:12 m:s)
  6. Our Beautiful Selves (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (3:49 m:s)
  7. If That's What You Want (D Mather / A Bautovich / Orange Humble Band) (3:56 m:s)
  8. Get Straight Down (D Mather / A Bautovich / Orange Humble Band) (3:46 m:s)
  9. Once My Precious You (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (3:19 m:s)
  10. Oughta Feel Ashamed (D Mather / D Twilley / Orange Humble Band) (3:00 m:s)
  11. No One Cares About Me (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (3:38 m:s)
  12. Emma Amanda (D Mather / J Auer) (2:26 m:s)
  13. Upon Cindy's Will (D Mather / A Bautovich / Orange Humble Band) (3:04 m:s)
  14. With The Universe In My Hand (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (6:48 m:s)
  15. Something Goin' On (D Mather / Orange Humble Band) (4:47 m:s)
Formed by Lime Spider and Someloves co-founder Darryl Mather, The Orange Humble Band emerged in 1994 from the ashes of the Someloves with memories of their stunning 1990 debut Something Or Other fresh in mind.

Benefitting from a large number of unrecorded Someloves songs in the vault, Mather set about creating the debut Assorted Creams. Friend and bass player Bill Gibson was recruited to assist refine the tunes and establish a strong rhythm section. Drummer Peter Kelly, exciting young guitarist Matt Galvin and Mather's old school buddy, vocalist Anthony Bautovich, were added to the line up. The album was completed in the US with Ken Stringfellow (Posies) on lead vocals and long-time friend and collaborator Mitch Easter (Let'sActive) added as an additional guitarist, co-producer and mixer.

Assorted Creams met with huge acclaim from power pop aficionados who hailed its energy and melodious purity. Genre writer John Borack ranked it the 8th greatest power pop album ever recorded in his definitive power pop guide Shake Some Action. Only the likes of Big Star, The Raspberries, Cheap Trick and Tommy Keene ranked higher. The tracks It Doesn't Matter and Down in Your Dreams were considered mini classics.

The band's second album, Humblin' Across America was completed two years later with Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and Spongetones' bass player Jamie Hoover forming the rhythm section. The album was recorded at Memphis' famous Ardent Studios with key guests the legendary Jim Dickinson and Spooner Oldham assisting with piano and organ. Unlike Assorted Creams pure power pop focus, Humblin' was a broader sound, with traces of blue-eyed soul, gospel and country infused within many of its tunes.

At the end of 2000, Mather chose to take an extended break from music, continuing however to sporadically pen songs in the event the band were to ever reform for a third album. Whilst a guest of Jody Stephens at the 2012 SXSW industry preview of Big Star's film documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me, an emotional charged atmosphere saw close friends Mather, Stephens, Easter and Stringfellow agreeing to regroup and record.

Mather subsequently returned home to finalise preparation of the 14 songs that would become Depressing Beauty. Mather saw his new material as overtly melodious yet sad and introspective in lyric content. Thus, the metaphoric album title Depressing Beauty to complement the dichotomy that Mather had identified between the music and lyrics.

During demo preparations, Mather also reached out to pop legend Dwight Twilley with the idea of recording Twilley's song You Close Your Eyes. Twilley agreed and additionally offered to help Mather write bridge sections for two of the new songs and to appear as a guest backing vocalist.

Depressing Beauty was recorded in Oct 2012, again at Ardent Studios. The line up remains largely unchanged from Humblin' with core members Ken Stringfellow, Mitch Easter, Jody Stephens and Mather all present. They are joined by the supremely gifted Jon Auer (Posies, Big Star) and highly respected Memphis session players, bassist Dave Smith (Cat Power, Buddy Guy) and keyboardist Rick Steff (Lucero).

"Returning to Ardent was like a homecoming," Mather commented. "So many significant ups and downs have happened both in my life and the band member's lives over the past 10 or so years. We realised at our reunion in Austin, whilst celebrating a sneak preview of Big Star's documentary film 'Nothing Can Hurt Me', that it was time to reunite to create some fresh new music, which not only honoured our varied musical roots but also the many fallen friends we have sadly lost over the last decade".

Along with the towering pop figure of Dwight Twilley, additional special musical guests for this recording include Susan Cowsill (background vocals), Spooner Oldham (Wurlitzer piano), multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lynch, (backing vocals, guitar, keyboards and percussion), Kirk Smothers, (baritone and tenor sax), Scott Thompson (trumpet and flugelhorn) and former Alex Chilton long time colleague Jim Spake (tenor sax and clarinet).

Finally, as a most welcoming inclusion, string arrangements were created and scored by Carl Marsh. Cult like in status, Marsh most famously wrote and conducted strings for the revered Big Star's Third album of 1974. Hailed pop luminary Chris Stamey (dB's) also provided additional string arrangements.

Produced by Mather and lauded indie giant Mitch Easter, engineering honours were shared between Ardent's Pete Matthews, Bob Engel and Easter. Mixing was concluded by Easter at his Fidelitorium NC studio and portrays his remarkable ability to synthesise a vast array of recorded elements into an aesthetically beautiful and complete musical picture. Mastering was completed by decorated award winner Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound NYC.

For more info about the Orange Humble Band and music, visit:OHB On Facebook