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The Orange Peels

Idioma disponible: inglés
With organic West Coast warmth, lush vocal harmonies, jangling guitars, and classic songcraft, American indie pop standard-bearers the Orange Peels are good for an album of sunny delights every few years. While their sound has constantly evolved in subtle ways and small increments, the vision of leader Allen Clapp has always remained clearly focused on timeless melodies and emotional payoff. The group started their long-running career with the straight-ahead guitar pop of Square, and as they progressed, folded in elements of chamber pop, soft rock, and synth-heavy prog. On 2021's Celebrate the Moments of Your Life they pulled it all together masterfully while adding some real-life lyrical clouds to their musical forecast. Originally dubbed Allen Clapp & His Orchestra and including bassist Jill Pries, lead guitarist Larry Winther (a former member of the Mummies), and ex-Cerebral Corps drummer Bob Vickers in the lineup, the group debuted with a series of singles on labels like Elefant and Four Letter Words; their first full-length effort, One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain, appeared on the Bus Stop label in 1994. After changing their name to the Orange Peels, the quartet resurfaced in 1997 with the excellent Square, released on Minty Fresh. The Orange Peels spent over two years recording the follow-up, So Far, during which the band's lineup went through many changes. First Vickers was replaced by John Moremen, who had drummed with Jad Fair. Then Winther left, leading Vickers to come back to the group, this time on guitar. After Clapp sent his friend Winther a demo of a new song, "Don't Walk Away, Won't You Stay" (later retitled "You're So Clever" for the album), the guitarist rejoined the band. Now a quintet, the group finished the album and it was released by new label SpinART in February 2001. After this, Clapp turned to his solo career, with two releases in 2002: an LP for March Records (Available Light) and an EP for Bus Stop (Whenever We're Together). The Orange Peels returned in 2005 on Parasol with the fine Circling the Sun, recorded with yet another lineup. Joining the core of Clapp and Pries were guitarist/keyboardist Oed Ronne (ex-Ocean Blue) and three drummers (Peter Anderson, Bryan Hanna, and Bob Vickers), each of whom played on a few tracks. The band's next record, 2010's 2020, featured returning guitarist John Moremen and only Vickers on drums. Clapp then worked on his solo record Mixed Greens, which came out in 2012 on his Mystery Lawn label. He returned to the Orange Peels when Pries invited Moremen and new drummer Gabriel Coan to their home studio to work on the next album without Clapp's knowledge. When he was brought into the proceedings, he wasn't prepared with any finished songs and, as a result, the project became much more collaborative than previous Orange Peels albums. Sun Moon was released in spring of 2013 by Mystery Lawn and Minty Fresh. Later that year, the band's career almost ended when Clapp and Pries were involved in a car accident that they were extremely lucky to walk away from. Taking inspiration from their close call, the Orange Peels soon hit the studio to work on their next album. It was mostly recorded in Clapp's home studio over a five-day span, with the other bandmembers pitching in with songwriting and arranging ideas. One song was recorded after Clapp and Pries moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains and built a studio. The resulting album, 2015's Begin the Begone, was another classic slice of adult-oriented indie pop, only a little darker than usual this time. The band set out on tour that year with Matthew Sweet, who was so impressed by Moremen's guitar playing that he later hired him. With Moremen busy with his new gig and Coan having moved to Philadelphia, the group's next album was written during the stormy West Coast winter of 2016-2017 by Clapp, with input from Pries. Once ready, the Orange Peels met up at Clapp's Mystery Lawn studio and, with the help of producer Bryan Hanna (who had worked with the band on Square and Circling the Sun), completed their seventh album, Trespassing. At once a classic Orange Peels album and a more experimental work that incorporated the synth-heavy sound Clapp utilized on his 2017 solo EP, Six Seasons, the record was issued by Minty Fresh in April 2018. Over the next couple of years, the group worked on a deluxe reissue of Square -- issued by Minty Fresh in June of 2020 -- that includes both studio-recorded versions of the album and a full set of demos. At the same time, they began recording tracks for a new album, minus guitarist Moremen, who left in 2019. Clapp, Pries, and Coan weathered deaths in the family, wildfires that almost destroyed their home studio, and the quarantine to craft a record that pulled together all the various strands of music they had touched on before -- from indie pop to orchestral pop to synth prog -- and laid their emotions bare in the process. Released in mid-2021, Celebrate the Moments of Your Life is a double album that features string arrangements from Mike Brown and a striking cover by collagist Nereida Dusten.
© Jason Ankeny & Tim Sendra /TiVo
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