Orange Juice

The Orange Juice

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After the group splintered yet again during the recording of what turned out to be the Texas Fever EP, Orange Juice returned as the duo of Edwyn Collins and Zeke Manyika to craft maybe the most satisfying album of their too-short career. Working with producer Dennis Bovell for the most part, the record sounds great from start to finish. Highly polished mid-'80s pop with plenty of dubby bass (provided by Clare Kenny), inventive rhythms, and some of Collins' best vocal work, the record is a sophisticated, diverse, and mature work that easily stands the test of time, even if it was somewhat dismissed at the time of release. Collins also managed to craft an incredible batch of songs that range from the laid-back grooves of tracks like the self-effacing "I Guess I'm Just a Little Too Sensitive" and the guitar-heavy and determined-sounding "What Presence?!" to charging rockers like "The Artisans" and "Salmon Fishing in New York," with plenty of introspective ballads that suggest Collins was doing a bit of soul-searching at the time. Indeed, his decision to pack up the band and head out as a solo act soon after the album's less-than-heralded release seems to bear this out. Titles like "Lean Period" and "Get While the Gettings Good" make it clear, so does the elegiac "All That Ever Mattered," which sounds like nothing less than a lovesick ode to bandmembers come and gone. Orange Juice may be the group's swan song that came too soon; it's also an excellent example of why people still care about the band years later.

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