I discovered this album through YouTube recommendations, as people do these days, and this is an important fact, because, while I liked it a whole lot more than I expected from a video I clicked on at random (it qualifies as something as something one would call an „pleasant surprise”), I didn’t love this album.
The album’s 30-minute length is ideal for what it is: a collection of vaguely retro-sounding indie/garage rock songs averaging around three minutes each. These songs are catchy, yet somehow not very memorable and the album as a whole is fun to listen to, but it doesn’t leave much of a long-lasting impact on the listener. None of the songs are bad, but none of them are great either. „They Put a Body in the Bayou„, „Black Francis„, „Heavy Head” and „Double Feature” are the best ones, but they aren’t much better than the rest.
The guys in The Orwells are competent musicians, but they are nowhere near exceptional musicians, and the result of that is an album that seemingly has no identity of its own. While I was listening to „Terrible Human Beings” I had a feeling that I couldn’t escape, a feeling that I wouldn’t miss out on anything I simply stopped listening to it and put on some Weezer or Pixies instead. I have no problem with a band taking influence from others, but doing almost the same thing, but in a more boring manner is not at all appealing to me. Ultimately, the album’s lack of musical ideas are what kept me from having a better time with it, as it didn’t make up for it in any way, not even the lyrics, which I found more try-hard and edgy than witty and daring.
All in all, I’m not saying „don’t listen to this”, I’m saying „listen to other, better stuff before it”. If you’re a fan of this style and you don’t have anything else to listen to, it’s fine and it’ll satisfy your craving, at least momentarily. If you want this sort of thing, but with more attitude and generally a lot more fun, listen to The Regrettes‘ „Feel Your Feelings, Fool” (listen to it just for that title alone).
Image via Pitchfork.