The Orwells – Disgraceland

In 2012, Remember When remained almost untouched by the music world.


Two years later, and now signed to Atlantic Records, the Chicago band are receiving the recognition they deserve for a truly brilliant record.

There was always going to be a few hurdles in the way of the Chicago band’s second LP; five of the tracks have already been released, this type of albums been done before, etc. However, as the fourth of my twelve, Big for 2014 bands to release their LP for 2014, The Orwells have joined Eagulls in producing a truly stellar album. Tracks from Disgraceland have been dropping since August last year with Who Needs You, charging the Chicago band’s old school, American rock to the hyped up heights, they’re currently enjoying. The major problem the band face, is the backlash from music snobs, who will say that this albums been done before, just as Peace faced last year with their debut LP. Rock has been done over and over, since about the 60’s. It’s the modern transition from traditional American rock, to more modern amalgamations of beach rock and garage/slacker rock from bands such as Howler and Fidlar respectively, that make The Orwells’ second LP, timeless.

Starting with Southern Comfort, Disgraceland immediately summons up the essence of Hollywood’s ‘American summer’. Charging out of the everyday confinements, towards a ridiculously huge lake, surrounded by thousands of drunk, rock infused runaways (not the band). The nostalgia of the 70’s effortlessly cool rock, fuels Southern Comfort to remain as classic and enticing as a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro, but more importantly adult friendly. Steady chords and coursing drum beats secure an undeniably catchy essence, as the riffs of the chorus opens up Disgraceland stupendously with a mature approach unfound on Remember When.

The band’s Record Store Day release, The Righteous One, follows, with further tastes of rock’s great history, as the broken up four chords repeat systematically. The true awakening of Disgraceland however comes from the album’s third and sixth tracks, Dirty Sheets and Let It Burn, as the guitars truly explode on Dirty Sheets, screeching over and over as your ears beg for more, while blood pours out of them like Niagara falls, with sweat filled, melodies and luring lyrical rhymes throughout. While Let It Burn loads up on darker, deeper tones as the aggression of the great Chicago fire, lights up the passion of the track’s break down before closing on the emphatic chorus.

From the east coast to the west, we ain’t the worst, we ain’t the best.

On the first non-single track, Bathroom Tiles, the growth curve from Remember When is the most prominent, as more matured melodies loaded with reverbed guitar tones, fill the air in between your head, with waves of noise that don’t come from rapid riffs, rather from well placed instrument progressions. Who Needs You further addresses this mature state, playing on the tongue on cheek approach of facing ‘traditional America’, as they attack from within, retaliating against the rules of uncle Sam.

You better join the army, I said no thank you, dear old uncle Sam.

The closing of the album is compromised of a selection of quick drawn guitar hooks, and strung out melodies, as Disgraceland is brought to a picturesque sunset of a finish. In the entirety of Disgraceland, wired up riffs load Disgraceland with the energy of the 4th of July, as huge hitting guitar hooks, balance together with tongue on cheek, summer day lyrics to create a stupendous firework display that closes the night perfectly.


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