Brainstorm: The Orwells America’s punk rock future

For most bands these days success certainly does not come quickly or easily. Yet Illinois garage rock starlets, The Orwells, have enjoyed an explosive start to their career. A new album, Terrible Human Beings, is released on 17th February. Featuring production from Jim Abiss, who’s work ranges from the Arctic Monkeys debut to Adele’s world conquering 21, the album will be followed by the first UK tour kicking off in Glasgow on the 1st March. First forming 2009, whilst still in high school they had a demo picked up by local blogger Justin Gage who signed them to his Autumn Tone label.


The Orwells, the Illinois five piece kick off their UK tour in Glasgow on March 1st


After graduation from High School, a well-received first album was released, although it failed to get much traction. In 2014 they released their second LP Disgraceland. Appearances followed on Later…Live With Jools Holland and a memorable appearance on The David Letterman Show, in which the crowd demanded and encore. Along with this lead single from Disgraceland, the thumping anti-capitalist punk of “Who Needs You” gained some much needed exposure when included on the GTA V soundtrack. So far so good for The Orwells, who still have an average age of only 23.

However more than their age its the music that sets The Orwells aside. Rough and ready punk and garage rock, played with an intensity and maturity bands with years more experience fail to live up to.

With Terrible Human Beings we find a band ready to push this initial success into a new level. The four tracks released already on streaming sites show a newfound level of creative scope. Buddy, is a short sharp punk work out. Clocking in at under one and a half minutes they crash through it in the care free style reminiscent of the Misfits or Ramones. Yet at the other end of the spectrum lies the seven-minute epic Double Feature. A slow burn rock groove that builds into a thrashing guttural finale, a difficult move to pull off for a band known for short raw songs, yet its a step in a different direction they hand with aplomb.

The album was recorded at Chicago’s Electrical Audio, creating a sound the band describe themselves as one of “mutilated pop songs”. For Terrible Human Beings, enigmatic lead singer Mario Cuomo stated, “we wanted to make songs that at their core are catchy and pretty, then slash them up.”

Along with the swampy rock of Body in the Bayou their other pre-album release is a direct tribute to the Pixies, in both lyrics and style, with “Black Francis”. Guitarist Matt O’Keefe makes no issue of denying the inspiration, “The Pixies were an obsession when we were writing this album. I think that’s where a lot of trying to make the songs and the guitar parts very simple was coming from, because the Pixies are kings of that. We’ve always been a simple band, but this time it was about trying to keep everything straightforward, nothing flashy.”

With their first full UK tour kicking off in Glasgow at Stereo on the 1st of March and taking in seven dates across England ending in London on the 7th, The Orwells will be looking to make a impact on UK shores this spring.

      Double Feature – The Orwells latest release from the upcoming album Terrible Human   Beings

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