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Review – Orange Sky – Upstairs

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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.

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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.

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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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About Triniman

Almost weekly, Triniman catches new movies, and adds one or two CDs to his collection. Due to time constraints, he blogs about only 5% of the CDs, books and DVDs that he purchases. Holed up in the geographic centre of North America, the cultural mecca of Canada, and the sunniest city north of the 49th, Winnipeg, Triniman blogs a bit when he's not swatting mosquitoes, shoveling snow or golfing.
  • Dylan

    Im sure many people are wondering, who the hell is Orange Sky? Orange sky is a five peice rock band from Trinidad, the band is basicialy a mixture of Hard rock and Reggae possibly makeing them the most origional modern rock band since…. hm im not too sure, but their pretty damn origional.

    The music is more than just origional, its balls out awesome! Being a long time Sky fan its great to see them get some attention, and this album is well produced (although the drums are slightly lacking and doesn’t reflect on Oasis’s amazing drum work).

    The track listing is great and the band is as tight in the studio as they are live (thats pretty damn tight). Personally my favorite tracks are probaly Dogs, Escape, Peace Train and Tug of War, I also have many other favorite songs by this band but those arnt on the CD and its near impossible to get the tracks online so unless your Trini (which I am) or have seen them live (which I have, many times) you probaly wont hear them.

    Each member of the band holds their own on their instrument, Nigal is nothing short of godly playing lead guitar, he has a great sense of phraseing and has fantastic tone when playing lead, and a great knack for writing riffs, he knows when to speed it up and when to slow it down, understands the uses of repetition and his unique style works extremly well with the band. Nicholas is one beast on the bass, unlike many bassists he has a distinct energy, unfourtantly like many bassist he is sometimes forced to follow the guitar, however on songs like Alone and Angels he spares no expence in produceing some awesome bass lines.

    Obasi is the new Keith Moon, a drummer with stage presence, an ecentric appearance behind the drums along with a Bozo esq. fusion of speed and power makes him stand out as a modern rock drummer with few equals, he has a clean crisp sound and has endurance for days (if you see them live you would know what I mean, he often does 10 min solos giving Nigal some breathing time). Adam although just a rhythm guitarist is obviously a major driving force, Adam adds alot of depth to the music and has a great rhythm tone. Richard unfourtantly seems to take the place of the bassist where he doesn’t really stand out as much as I would like. He is a very talented dude and without him the band wouldn’t be nearly as good, but its only in the slower songs were he stands out, in the more Reggae oriented songs he’s the dude behind all of those awesome horns, all in all he’s a valuable part of the band and while their are few modern rock keyboardists I only wish he stood out more.

    Lyrically and vocally Nigal Rojas is amazing, his sweet yet raspy voice suits him perfectly, he has the unique ability to be able to carry out the melodic side of Orange Sky while being able to provide some true hard rock vocals with equal skill and then provide some Reggae vocals with equal skill. His voice reminds me of Cat Steven, Bob Marley and Ronnie James Dio all at the same time with a slight hint of Pantera. His lyrical skills are amazing, he has a knack for putting harsh lyrics in a soft song and vice versa, every song has a meaning and a story behind it, the lyrics arnt just there to sound cool.

    All in all a fantastic effort, you can count on hearing alot from these guys very soon.

  • Kit Martsolf

    I know that everyone is entitled to an opinion, however, I disagree with TRINIMAN. Orange Sky is getting a lot of GREAT reviews here in the USA and personally, this band is totally awesome. Nigel’s voice is just fantastic. People here in San Francisco just loved the band and they are truly amazed by the drummer.

    Yes…Orange Sky will go very far indeed! My advice to “Triniman” is, try and support your contrymen.

  • Donna Evans

    I heard Orange Sky in San Francisco and they were fantastic. I just ordered their CD from Amazon and I can’t wait to get it. What an awesome sound they have. They will get get very far in the music world.

  • ORANGESKYFAN

    YEAH EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION BUT TRINIMAN HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT.I SAW ORANGEKY LIVE AND THEY WERE THE BEST THING I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME,I HAVE NOT REMOVED THE CD FROM MY CD PLAYER IN 2 WEEKS.DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND PICK UP THIES CD YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPPOINTED.

  • Kit Martsolf

    Hey “ORANGESKYFAN” I am with you on that post. I too have “UPSTAIRS” in my CD player in my car as well as at home. These guys are legends in the making.

  • Kit Martsolf

    Hey Triniman!

    You feel kinda stupid now that Orange Sky is getting two thumbs up by REAL Music critics? You sure sould like you have eaten some sour grapes. I would like to see you play ANY of the instruments that these guys play. Poor you.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com/ Christopher Rose

    Kit: Last time I checked, people are entitled to their opinions. And why is it that people always ask reviewers about their musical ability? I’m mostly crap at all the major arts but fail to see why that would preclude me having an opinion.

  • Kit Martsolf

    Hey Christopher…Ya got a point there. Its just that “Triniman” seems to be eating sour grapes. But then again…that is MY opinion. I am going to keep a keen eye on Orange Sky as I am sure they are going to build a very strong fan base worldwide.

  • Don

    I just found your site and wanted to give my best wishes to OS. I saw them in NY and they rock and sure kick some major ass! I hope they come back soon.

  • LilPine

    Going to see Orange Sky live in Trinidad Wed Dec 21. Not Trini, just visited a couple of years ago and saw the band playing at a bar. I was totally blown away and by the end of the week I had all their indie releases. Orange Sky is always in my CD player since then. Their new album is great although a few songs are redone, they sound even better than before.

    TRINMAN…you sure you from Trinidad

  • David Porter

    I just got Orange Sky’s new cd and they are f**cking awesome! Great new sound. I saw them in Trinidad last month at 51 degrees and they rocked the hell out of the place. I am a new fan!

  • miamisun

    Triniman sounds like he has something personal against this band or he is just not a rock fan this cd is nothing like he descirbes it.

  • miamisun

    This cd is awesome and the are just as incredible LIVE!

  • http://tonyguppy.com Guppy

    I am not a rock fan or “Orange Sky” fan, but this band will “rock you” …,,These Guys are for real!!!!

  • Ian Anthony

    Triniman is right only in saying that the production leaves somethign to be desired. This is especially true with regard to the drums tracks. But Orange Sky is a great band all around. Nigel Rojas has a very good voice, Triniman. How can you deny this? And it blends perfectly with brother’s and the keyboard player’s. I mean vocally these guys sound as good live as they do on their studio recording. No small order. I have heard many a big band that lacks in this regard.

    If this band keeps it up they should do very well. In an era where modern day hard rock bands sound like cliches, Orange Sky has proven to me that they have great talent and potential, plus that tinge of something different that should give them an edge.

  • adi rambachan

    I met orange sky , when they played in a UNC Political rally. I met nigel and he is a very down to earth person. I heard them saw them perform live for the very first time and I was totally blown away. Nigel voice is fantastic. The drummer is top of the line. The entire band sounds really really good.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_madray Joseph

    I strongly disagree with Triniman.

    Orange Sky is an excellent band that has gained a MASSIVE fan base locally and even internationally relative to the limited amount of touring they have done; they still have quite a way to go in terms of touring and letting their music out more internationally. Obasi Springer proves to be a world-class drummer with skills and creativity that’s hard to come by. Their creative sound is by all means unique and is taken as a fresh drink of water in today’s stagnant pool cliche sound.

    Orange Sky opened for guitar god, Yngwie Malmsteen, on his tour as well as played shows with the likes of Adema and Buckcherry. They sold more merchandise than Yngwie Malmsteen at some of his own shows and people are constantly asking them to come back! Their next prospect is to tour Europe soon. We’ll see how that turns out but I wish them best of luck.

  • http://www.bebo.com/twisterp4 Kech

    Hey Hey 😛 gess who lives in the house next to me :P…….. joel ur rhythem gutiarest 😛 and yes we jam in my room coz fucking UAS customs would not let him in so hes bk with his misses who is about to have a baby and …. nigel u’ll meet me one day 😛

  • ravi

    the person who reviewed this album , should clean his old ears , how may trinidad bands have done wat tthay have a 87 city us tour , how may fans do u have mr. critic