Hometown roots seem to always find their way into the music of its artists. It’s natural and almost expected. This doesn’t just apply to music, but every art form from literature to painting to sculpting. Who we are has a lot to do with where we come from.
No other place in the states offers as many connotations (accurate or inaccurate) as the south. One of the more romantic ideas is the carefree existence associated with living near the Mississippi River. Wild Sweet Orange (Preston Lovinggood — vocals, guitar; Chip Kilpatrick — drums; Taylor Shaw — guitar; Garret Kelly — bass) manages to recreate that southern charm through its intimate and mellow sound.
The most important thing the Birmingham, Alabama quartet strove for in making its debut album We Have Cause To Be Uneasy was that they didn’t lose themselves in it and that their personalities and their life experiences were reflected and would be remembered when the songs stopped playing.
Lovinggood indicates the album’s title as the strongest evidence to the band’s aim: “It’s being honest about who we are and where we’ve come from” (press release). The southern charm carries on with the makeshift pseudo-porch sing-along “At Atlas To Follow” while the album ending “Land Of No Return” provides the most appropriate and commemorating swansong (“There’s a sunrise every morning that you miss ’cause you’re asleep / There’s a sunset every evening, you miss in your car leaving / To wherever it is that you’re going you’re not pulled but led”).
It’s surprising that WSG doesn’t content themselves with simple ballads that showcase Lovinggood’s tender voice or generic up-tempo tracks that highlight their ability to rock. The band does both well, as evident in the amazing opening track “Ten Dead Dogs” (download mp3 here) and the affectionate “Sour Milk,” but they succeed most with hybridizations like the illuminating “Seeing & Believing” and the attitude charged, angst-filled “House Of Regret.”
Wild Sweet Orange toyed listeners with last year’s EP The Whale to which the band thankfully followed up with the emotion-mixing, never-disappointing “home is where the heart is” full-length debut.