After initially being leaked online two days early, Orson’s second and final album; Culture Vultures was released in 2007. It was made clear by the band that it would be the ‘rock album’ they wanted to produce as opposed to the pop sensation they actually released in Bright Idea, which reached top spot in the UK Charts after it was brought out only a year earlier.
Opening is Radio, kicking off the ‘new heavier album’ with the same pop sounds the band made themselves famous for only the year before with the likes of No Tomorrow and Downtown. If the repeating sound of their debut isn’t heavy enough, then you won’t be surprised by Ain’t No Party which follows. The one and only single from the album appears second in the playlist and like Radio, follows more of their original sounds than anything particularly heavier – not even in the slightest.
Broken Watch takes a step even further backwards before The Contortionist takes over with a sense of confusion over its direction. Both of these songs highlight explicitly that this is not a rock album and only confirms the feelers put out by the initial two songs.
Gorgeous takes over with a glimmer of hope of recuperating some of their lost reputation, however worsen things once more by inevitably taking their pop influences back. The song is no doubt their heaviest so far and has elements of the more sought after genre but really doesn’t live up to standards. Debbie’s Gone confirms this once again despite the addition of distortion. The timbre of performance is that of pop, there is no denying it at all. As you progress though the album, it becomes clear why it struggled in its performance and it comes as no surprise that it only sold eight thousand in its opening week, as opposed to then tens, if not thousands received by other albums of that time.
Where You Are Tonight comes across as the softer break in the album, providing a sense of originality and a discrete ballad in the middle. Yes, its built of the same materials that the other eleven songs are made of, but it does stick out as something different. Little Miss Lost & Found, like Broken Watch and The Contortionists, appears not to have any direction while Northern Girl heads back to the earlier Bright Idea influences of straight clean guitars and poppy harmonies. By this point, you begin to feel bored with what you’re listening to and Cool Cops doesn’t help, feeling much of a rewrite of the earlier songs over a different chord pattern. It does however boast some interesting and sinister melodies in the chorus and towards the ending.
Everybody is another song that follows the rewrite route, expressing nothing exciting bar some long winded, breathless harmonies in the verses that only distract you from the basis of the song itself. A chorus that doesn’t quite fit also features in Everybody, but soon enough, Get With The Programme kicks in. Pop couldn’t be more summed up by this album and I can only imagine this came to a huge disappointment to those who so desperately wanted it to be a rock record. Not even a bonus song, The Sound, can recoup any dignity for the album that tried so hard to be exciting.
It’s disappointing that Orson split up after such a terrible record, especially since their debut had become so successful so quickly. This isn’t an album that I’d recommend but I would totally suggest giving Bright Idea a listen.
|Release Name:||Culture Vultures|
|Date:||2007, October 22nd|