Sunday, 26 October 2008

Review - Sonic Orchid - Love & War

Sonic Orchid - Love & War

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4 out of 10

Sometimes I wonder about the quotes bands use in their PR. Take Saskatchewan's finest, Sonic Orchid. 'Stylistically reminiscent of The Cult and Led Zeppelin', says one 'Prairie Dog'. Their music 'isn't old, rehashed's new and intriguing', opines big Bob Donovan of In-Tune magazine (which has worldwide coverage). Their guitarist, Brad, has been compared to Joe Satriani. Vocalist Christina has 'siren-like vocals'.

I can vouch for the last one but as for the others, I'm afraid not - unless the comparison Brad received was 'you're nothing like Joe Satriani'. There is no Astbury / Duffy swagger or Zep nuclear bomb in a tie-dyed T-shirt. It's all too clean and artificial, like a candle on a mobile phone screen. The band may sound cut from surgical steel and Christina may begin a couple of tracks with a howl Bruce Dickinson would shield a glass from, but as the album plays, the comparisons which spring to mind are very odd, indeed; perhaps laughably, the first one is Rush - obvious for a Canadian rock band, I know, but especially on Fight For Your Right and Hold On the Geddy Lee stylings are quite eerie. Chaos is perhaps the best on offer here, thanks to its use of some old Dio blueprints. Without You is not, thankfully, a Nilsson cover (although Christina would have no trouble with that track, I am sure) but a lost Abba leviathan where Benny and co were trying a 'new direction'. Take Care of You brings in Barbara Dixon - I thought someone had spiked my tea. Alive Again gives us the now-traditional power ballad finish - the particular power ballad in question being the Scorpions' Wind of Change, only bereft of whistling.

The production is suitably huge and the band are obviously aiming their shiny, buff rock arsenal squarely at arenas and sponsorship from whatever gets their fans drunk. However, I think the nearest they'll get is the Canadian equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest. As a last word from their PR, the 'Orchid may be touring outside Canada. Get out your mobiles and turn that brightness to 11!


1. Fight For Your Right
2. Last Time Alone
3. Liar
4. Hold On
5. Chaos
6. Just Need Time
7. Without You
8. Take Care Of You
9. Alive Again

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