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splendid > reviews > 12/3/2005
The Orphan Project
The Orphan Project
Self-Titled
Double Dos


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "One Knife"

Buy me now
The Orphan Project is on a teeny-tiny label, but it has the fidelity of a big-budget modern rock album -- which is fitting, because these guys are clearly gunning for a glitzy spot atop the studded belt and faux-hawk heap. This is teenage angst rawk at its most expensive-sounding, with one foot in pop-punk and another in pureed buzzcut metal. The band nabs riffs and rhythms from all over the alt-rock map, and not in a charming way or a clever intertextual way, either; we've all heard the overdriven post-emo riff that "Time Incriminates Us All" rides, but The Orphan Project play it po-faced, attempting to pass it off as the product of blood, sweat and tears rather than 'fessing up to what it really is. They're just as pretentious and misguided on the lyrical front, reeling off gory figurative language ("throw my heart against the wall") without actually engaging the images at work -- their metaphors are mere matters of course, collated perhaps from Hot Topic refrigerator magnet poetry. That said, the album gives the impression that these guys really could be doing better. There's a lot of rage floating around (especially on "Ramses II", which features some genuinely harrowing screams), and it could be harnessed quite nicely if the band had something other than ex-girlfriends upon which to focus it. However, The Orphan Project will need to overcome their apparent blindness to just how entrenched they are in their idiom before any true growth occurs.


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