There are a handful of characteristics that make for a good album: style, quality, chemistry, lyrics, the usual qualifiers. The band name, though, isn’t something we normally think about. After all, what’s in a name? A lot, apparently. Like the cover of a book, the band name says a lot about who the band is, what the music sounds like, and what you can expect to get out of the album. It lets you know “how this band will change your life: how they’ll save it, or how they’ll destroy it.” Black Phoenix Orchestra, a great name and an amazing band, does both.
Black Phoenix Orchestra’s self-titled album is incredible. There is mastery here unlike typical independent productions, and each track, from the fantastic introductory monologue to the album closing bonus “Waitin’ In The Water Blues”, is brilliant. These songs are shockingly good. It’s always easy to expect to like an album after a few listens, but this album does something amazing by blowing you away the first time you listen to it. This isn’t a statement that comes easily; claims like these are risky, and it’s actually rare to find an album with such consistent quality. Of the seven songs on BPO’s album, however, not one fails to amaze.
BPO would fit in perfectly among the grunge and alternative bands of the ’90s. At times they sound eerily similar to Alice in Chains or The Verve, and with bluesy tones as well as a few shifts to the psychedelic they are a comprehensive example of music done right. For example, compare “No Guarantees” to “Swamp Song”: two tracks with different inspirations and sounds, but equally well-written and equally mind-blowing. The all-important elements of catchiness and “singalongability” are there, but this has nothing to do with simplicity. These songs show depth and complex writing, and with a perfectly dirty, grungy sound, they are damn good. Take “I’m In Love”, for instance. This is an earworm of a song that resonates for hours, but it’s not just a simple little ditty. It brings a wall of sound that sounds both complicated and effortless, but with a little extra something to make it memorable.
Black Phoenix Orchestra is a band you need to hear. Stream their songs on MySpace or ReverbNation, or check out their Facebook page for music, tour news, and much more. Their EP is awesome, and they’re definitely a name to remember.