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Orquesta del Desterto | Dos | review | rock | Lollipop
Orquesta del Desterto
Dos (Meteor City)
By Brian Varmey
The second release from this stoner rock supergroup of sorts, a contradiction in terms, considering the talent pool is a bunch of obscure groups that only a turbo-geek like myself would know. For instance, ringleader Dandy Brown is also in Hermano; Mario Lalli is in Fatso Jetson and has played on some of the Desert Sessions releases; and singer Pete Stahl was in DC hardcore pioneers Scream and, more recently, has lent his throat to Wool, earthlings?, and Goatsnake. Not exactly Blind Faith, huh?
In any case, if you heard the first Orquesta del Desierto album, you'll know what to expect on Dos. The songs are much better this time around, an organic melodic horse-sense that wasn't as consistently present on the debut, guiding each part fluidly and faultlessly into the next. If you missed the first album, expect massed acoustic guitars, smooth, soulful lead vocals (Stahl is one of the very vocalists in this scene who can really sing), and melodies that evoke the beautiful, wide-open swirl of a desert sunset. There are a couple of new developments here, most notably the rubbery, horn-driven, Latin-flavored opener, "Life Without Color," which is surprisingly effective considering how completely unexpected it is.
The pervading mood throughout the album, and the lingering tugging you'll feel in your gut when it's over, is a gentle melancholy. There's nothing outright weepy or depressing on Dos; it's more like the feeling of driving at nightfall in late August while listening to Led Zeppelin III and knowing that autumn will soon be upon you. There is sadness, yes, but it's a good, rich and, in a way, reassuring sadness, the sort that allows you to evaluate what's important and what isn't. Dos may prompt such reflection in you, or it may just remind you of Led Zeppelin III. It does a bit of both to me, and neither is a bad thing.
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