Orange Range

Panic Fancy

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Orange Range may be the most unsentimental of successful J-rock bands, due to their strong hankering for fooling around. That could render their albums a difficult listen, as was the case with their debut 1st Contact in 2003, but the reluctance to keep on pulling the same strings as the many chart-topping puppeteers can sometimes produce good results. The status quo is largely upheld on the band's 2008 effort: Orange Range still think that goofing around is a valid replacement for a hooks (it's not), but when they believe it's time to rein themselves in, they can pull off some pretty convincing rock & roll riffs, a heavy pop-punk tune, a convincing rap-rock assault, or even a catchy chorus in the way of B'z or Glay, which sounds much more fresh thanks to not being surrounded by a dozen similar tracks. There's even a gloomy alt-rock song on Panic Fancy ("Fuyumi"), but the irritating part is that the genre-hopping goes on non-stop, and there's no knowing what will come in the next 30 seconds: it's as likely to be total dross as dull banality, or a smattering of a J-rock classic that may or may not last for a whole song. Orange Range are still an interesting alternative to the much more predictable UVERworld and High and Mighty Color, who belong to the same league, but they'd best remember that too much musical chaos can turn enjoyment into frustration.

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