ORANGE SKY
"Dat Iz Voodoo"

(StarCity)

01. Yesterdays & Tomorrows
02. Is There Anybody There?
03. Alone
04. Dark Room
05. Roses
06. Rainbows
07. Psycho World
08. Never
09. Run
10. Second Wind
11. The End
12. Closer

RATING: 7.5/10

There has been quite a buzz surrounding this Trinidadian act ever since the release of "Upstairs", ORANGE SKY's debut album, particularly about the act's reportedly amazing live performances. Unfortunately, I overlooked the debut, but after hearing "Dat Iz Voodoo", I'm certain that it was my loss indeed. The sophomore effort is a (largely) hard rockin' affair with reggae and funk splashes that is nothing if not refreshing.

Though not easily pigeonholed, KING'S X is the act bubbles to the surface most often — just listen to "Dark Room" and you'll really hear it — due to the seamless mix of hot riffs and even hotter melodies. When the group rocks hardest on songs like the absolutely riff-tastic "Yesterdays & Tomorrows" and frenetic groover "Psycho World" the result is magnificently moving. The former tune's arrangement is especially sizzling with tough riffs and mammoth arrangement turns.

The reggae beats and guitar parts are present, most notably on the stunning rendition of the SCORPIONS' "Is There Anybody There?" but are not the focal point one might think and certainly isn't the case on every track. Of course, any time the Caribbean-accented phrasing occurs it is difficult not to get that island vibe. And while we're talking about vocals, the style is not only tuneful and infectious, but the staccato verse patterns on songs like "Alone" and "Second Wind" offer an even more flavorful listening experience.

On the other end of the spectrum "Dat Iz Voodoo" also features a handful of ballad-esque and melody-drenched rock moments. "Second Wind" and "Closer" are both strong cuts, the latter's pop-based structure impacting, whereas "Roses", a power ballad called "Rainbows", and straight ballad "Never" don't work quite as well, though are more than acceptable from a songwriting standpoint. It all depends on one's taste for that sort of thing.

The bottom line is that "Dat Iz Voodoo" is first and foremost a guitar-based rock album, yet it offers much more in the way of musical diversity and compositional dynamics, even though the style-hopping gets stretched too much a times. Regardless, ORANGE SKY is a band to watch and from what I hear you'll not want to miss them in their support slot on the upcoming KING'S X tour.

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