Orbit Service

Songs of Eta Carinae

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    8
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Songs of Eta Carinae fulfills several of the promises held by Orbit Service's previous effort, Twilight. The album is darker, tighter, better written. Simply said, it hits harder in the solar plexus. Paradoxically, the group manages to push its music farther into space while putting some distance between it and Pink Floyd's, still the main reference point here. Randall Frazier's voice evokes Roger Waters, no doubt about it, and there are a few musical moments that come extremely close to the mighty Floyd, "Halos" being the main offender here -- a good song, but too derivative. Songs of Eta Carinae begins with "Wolves," a track more powerful than anything found on Twilight. Frazier is recounting a dream he had; he ends up screaming about wolves over a stark, menacing background. Pink Floyd and Radiohead (another frequent point of comparison) never had such stripped-down arrangements, and that is where Orbit Service's music becomes infectious: those precise drum beats, judicious guitar arrangements, and all-around sober instrumental developments -- a rarity in psychedelic or space rock. With its twangy lead guitar, "Bruises" almost hints at Calexico's first albums, without actually stepping out of Orbit Service's persona. Besides "Wolves," highlights include "The Truth Eludes Me," "A Hallucination," and the riveting "No Longer We Dream," in which Waters' influence resurfaces with a vengeance. This band is in a class of its own, where the more sociopathic side of Pink Floyd meets the twisted musical imagery of the Legendary Pink Dots and Edward Ka-Spel, as unlikely as it seems. Emotionally draining and highly recommended.

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