Over the years, Orange County (the suburban California county that's south of Los Angeles and north of San Diego) has often been the butt of jokes among L.A. residents; the Beverly Hills/Santa Monica/West Hollywood crowd has even been known to call Orange County "Behind the Orange Curtain," which is sort of like Manhattan residents having a laugh at New Jersey's expense. But all those "Orange Curtain" jokes don't erase the fact that Orange County has, in the alternative rock era, given the world some impressive bands, ranging from No Doubt to Nice to Under the Starry Sky. Another noteworthy Orange County act is Something Corporate, which brings strong power pop instincts to this debut album, Leaving Through the Window.
These Southern Californians favor a style of alternative pop/rock that's punky yet vulnerable and introspective, with frontman Andrew McMahon anchoring many songs on his weathered upright piano. Given the band's reliance on his flourishes and double-fisted piano pounds, Something Corporate isn't just another emocore band in the blink-182/Fenix TX/A New Found Glory/Sloppy Meateaters vein; truth be told, the guys have more in common with Jimmy Eat World. Something Corporate has enough of a punky, bratty element to appeal to punk-pop and emo tastes, but the group also has a strong love of melody and a sense of craftsmanship that probably was -- as lead singer/pianist Andrew McMahon insists -- influenced to some degree by singer/songwriters like Billy Joel and Elton John. At times, the band's power pop instincts also bring to mind Cheap Trick, although Something Corporate's lyrics are much more melancholy (and, during songs like "If You C Jordan" and "Drunk Girl," very indebted to the high school experience). Whomever one chooses to compare Something Corporate to, Leaving Through the Window is among the more memorable and promising alterna-rock efforts of 2002.