MUSIC REVIEWS: Wild Sweet Orange and Mikal Evans
The debut album by Birmingham, Alabama quartet Wild Sweet Orange is full of meditative Southern rock tunes backed by chugging guitars and good old shuffling beats. Even when the lyrics on songs like “Ten Dead Dogs” are earnest and world weary, the music remains buoyant. Lead singer Preston Lovinggood anchors the band with his vocal gymnastics on “Tilt” going from a whisper to an arena rock god wail like it’s a walk in the park. The band is especially good at selling the story song, a Southern staple. “Aretha’s Gold” mixes in psychedelic flourishes to spice up this twisted love story of a song which also features some wild guitar work. “Sour Milk” is more contemplative and winsome in it’s overall tone but this track about “one pissed off generation of kids” is the album’s strongest tunes.
On A Jailhouse…A Kingdom, the the first track–“Dark Hushes Light”–captures the ear. Haunting and slightly chilling, it’s the type of song one would expect to hear at a filled Bowery Ballroom. The country tinge in “That City” leads the song. To me, it detracts from the song. It’s slightly jarring put in place next to the first song. The albums standout track–“Drunkest Hour”–is a rocking, guitar driven song that gets you on your feet–perfect for the early morning preparation ritual. The only track that I wasn’t a fan of would be “Virgin Wind.” While it fits nicely into the album as a whole, the song itself isn’t as enjoyable as the first thirty seconds leads one to think. All together, the album stands as hope for a rising young artist that may someday fall on the radar.