[sic] Magazine

ORB – Naturality

Blame MTV. Blame Spotify. Blame austerity. Hell, blame Brexit, but – whatever the case – the 10-track album is a dying breed. On Naturality, Aussie band ORB’s follow-up to last year’s debut, Birth, you can justifiably blame track length too. Why, simply, fill out 45 minutes with 12 tracks when 8 will do?

Another retro-rock release at the crossroads of power-fuzz and psychedelic sludge, Naturality is immediately more fun than it sounds, quick-fire grooves and chattering effects getting the wah-fuelled party started just as often as doomed riffing tries to dampen the flames. And, you might need to take a step back to see it, but, from the 60s-inclined melodies of “A Man In The Sand” to the silver-lined tee-ups on album closer “Rainbow’s End”, there’s pop in ORB’s veins too. Naturality is consequently not the kind of album that’ll have your parents running for the local exorcist, rather just fumbling for the pitch shift, thinking you’ve got it spinning at too slow a speed. Neanderthal fuzz-rocker “Motherbrain” is a great example, squelchy bass tones and super-sized riffs chiming along with a knuckleheaded stream of sludgy vocals courtesy of Zak Olsen.

Also of note and with a name that sounds like a lost indie band, “Immortal Tortoise” predictably gibbers on about nonsense as if the product of some 70s, private-press wizarding weirdos (later, to prove it, there’s also a track named “Flying Sorcerer” in the same style); part Black Sabbath, part hard-glam, it’s as easily attainable as the blown-out middle of band manifesto “O.R.B.” isn’t. While chugging, JEFF The Brotherhood-inspired choruses get the neck popping early on, it’s a track that otherwise descends into freestyle prog jamming, disembodied organ making its case in vain against juggernaut bass distortion. Despite mind-expanding moments like this, Naturality’s only fault is that it’s too often indistinguishable from whatever project the likes of Chad Ubovich, Charles Moothart or Mikal Cronin are working on at the moment, which is another way of saying that ORB have found the perfect home in Castle Face.

Best track: “Immortal Tortoise”

~Naturality is out now via Castle Face.~