From the opening salvo of the saxophone-fuelled bombastic ‘Start Of Something’, the listener knows right away that they are onto something special with the debut release from London-based Orphan Colours.
The up-tempo, high-energy theme continues with the guitar driven melodic ‘High Hopes’, which plays cleverly on the melody of ACDC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ to deliver a memorable mix of guitar and harmony-based infectious alt-country.
When songwriter Steven Llewellyn – formerly of Ahab – decided to form his own band with the help of Dave Burn and former bassist Graham Knight, the Orphan Colours project was given life.
Soon they were joined by Steve Brookes from Danny and the Champions of the World along with Fred Abbott, former lead guitarist with Noah and the Whale. With Ahab on permanent hiatus, the line up solidified and after their first EP release, the band focussed on building a live reputation on the festival circuit, playing the likes of Cambridge Folk Festival and Maverick, as well as headlining their own show at London’s iconic Borderline.
Most of the songs are about relationships of friends or lovers, breaking down or beginning. I had written my fair share of sensitive songs for Ahab – about love and loss and all that, and there’s a few on here but I really wanted to bring a bit of rock’n’roll into the UK Americana scene and I feel like we’ve achieved a good balance on this record. I want it to excite people most of all.
‘Goodnight California’ and ‘Loving Kind’ show the band can deliver a ballad with sensitivity and feeling while avoiding falling into the trap of being overly sentimental.
‘Sun Is Shining’ shows a deeper appreciation of the blues with its guitar into, Hammond organ and slow tempo leading up to the catchiest chorus on the record. This song is going to be a big one for audience interaction at live shows.
With catchy guitar licks, pumping bass lines and big saxophone solos throughout there will be some who will inevitably describe the band as an E-Street Band clone, but they are so much more than that. Llewellyn has done his work well on this record and Orphan Colours have delivered a joyful sound that manages to mix some of the best elements of rock’n’roll, blues and Americana into a harmonious and infectious record.
‘All On Red’ is released on 26th January 2018 via At The Helm Records.