Orange Sky – Upstairsreleased September 27, 2005
Granite Records/ Universal
Orange Sky’s sound straddles the gap between hard rock and metal, not unlike Pearl Jam. There are tinges of reggae thrown in that keep reminding you that you are not listening to a yet another bloodless corporate rock clone. They have obviously been listening to a lot of Iron Maiden as the heavy but melodic sounds of Maiden’s Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are recalled for me on some of the tracks. This is a good thing.
Singer Nigel Rojas’s vocal range doesn’t compare to Eddie Vedder or any number of similar singers and he takes a while to get used to. He’s more than competent on the Cat Stevens cover of “Peace Train”, however. Will his style win over audiences acustomed to more traditional rock vocals? I honestly believe they will have limited success.
The drums are not well produced. The mix is not world-class, but sounds just above what you would get from a demo. Too many of the songs are just so-so, not approaching hit material and overall this album isn’t competitive sounding. This may be a Jeff Glixman production, (Kansas, Paul Stanley, Black Sabbath), but I am less than impressed.
I wanted to love this album but I can’t. I feel relieved when it’s over, since I didn’t warm up to the lead singer’s voice. The songs here sound like they should have been worked on some more before being recorded. The playing of lead guitarist Nigel Rojas and rhythm axeman Adam Murray is excellent, however and deserves a better platform and perhaps another chance at recording.
Upstairs is a two-disc set with the second disc being a Live in Trinidad concert footage. My review copy didn’t include the DVD.
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