Mod Orange has to be one of the coolest names for a rock band I have heard in recent memory. It rolls off the tongue and just sounds cool. The name which Mark Dawson (voice/guitar) chose was an homage to his rare and vintage drum kit.
You may have made the assumption that Mark Dawson used to be a drummer, which is correct. He played drums for bands such as The Climax Divine, Battling Siki and The Hard Lessons. Playing the drums wasn’t completely fulfilling for Dawson as he had his own ambitions to write songs and indulge in his own artistic expression. He obtained the moniker Mod Orange and also recruited Eric Stucky (bass) and Jon Murrell (drums) to round out the trio. They recently released a six-track EP entitled Dusk that is about as fundamental a rock record you could make. The songs don't deviate from the core instruments of bass, guitar and drums and their style of rock sounds so pervasive it could pertain to almost any decade but if you had to pick one I would say ‘70s.
Dawson is a talented songwriter but the songs on Dusk on first listen do sound a bit familiar and may take a couple of spins to stick. The biggest issue with Dusk is that the songs didn’t feel particularly distinct. There weren't any moments that made me cringe but also nothing that stood out. That being said, it’s an enjoyable listen from beginning to end that creates a solid foundation for the trio.
While there are six tracks on Dusk there are really only four songs (if you include the intro and outro). The first track entitled “Dusk Intro” is a field recording of cars before breaking into “Left From Wrong.” It’s a decent song with a distinct 1970's classic rock flavor. Dawson has a voice that seems conducive for rock as he sings, “You got me going so I don't know left from wrong You're so out of sight I can't tell sky from ground.” “Pay The Bill” contains a bit of influence from ‘90s rock while the last song “Nowhere Town” has an overt blues influence.
Dusk is a solid debut from the band and in addition to displaying Dawson’s talent shows the band’s innate chemistry. If they can refine their sound a bit better to distinguish what makes them unique then I think Mod Orange will be well on their way.
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