Good things happen when you're outcast from society.
The Social Orphans, the eponymous debut from the San Diego trio The Social Orphans, is a New Wave transmission from the margins of society. Drawing influence from sarcastic rockers like The B-52's, the rigid art funk of the Talking Heads and the slick pop rock of Rick Ocasek's The Cars, The Social Orphans comment on the world we're living with surreal, weird, dramatic, romantic lyrics over a cosmopolitan mixture of organs and clean ringing New Wave guitars that draw you in rather than repulse.
"Saturday" kicks things off, and serves as a great introduction to the weird and wonderful world of The Social Orphans. It's a quick jet setting trip to Monte Carlo, as slinky guitars meet groovy, spooky organs and a clipped spoken rapped vocal delivery that somehow manages to recall the Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra, as well as B-52's Fred Schneider, over a musically masterful bedrock of organs and sparkling guitars. It's all played clean, relying on musicianship and good taste instead of studio gimmickry or musical fads.
The Social Orphans' musical influences are not the height of fashion, although this type of intelligent, sarcastic rock n’ roll will always have its advocates, but The Social Orphans don't care about that kind of thing. Instead, they make the music that speaks to their experience, honed on the margins of mainstream music and culture.
It's hard to comment on the culture, when you're firmly planted in it. The Social Orphans show just how ridiculous social media is on "Chocolate Milkshake," another weird but completely funky, sexy, and musically satisfying funk number, singing about "Texting and tweeting with a love struck mouse." They also take on the diminishing economy on "Hard To Make A Living," turning the rustbelt depression into a slice of accessible guitar pop.
The Social Orphans just proves that good things happen when you go off by yourself and follow your passions. When I was growing up, it wasn't cool to be a nerd or a geek - you couldn't get a girl's phone number to save your life, people looked at you like a Martian at a party, if you were ever even invited in the first place. Instead, us outcasts retreated to our inner worlds and honed our instincts, ingesting all of the world's greatest art and endless word shedding.
So while it might seem like an attractive idea to go after the CEO, the MVP of an NFL team, some airbrushed pop star, I'm here to tell you: Nerds make better lovers, and probably artists as well. We've cultivated our tastes to elevated levels and, being devoid of social lives, we master our crafts and our skills. A nerd will cook you waffles laced with basil and Mongolian salt. A nerd will take you to an art museum, or write you a poem or a minor symphony to show you they care.
The Social Orphans obviously care - about their music, about the world, although not too much to be precious about it. In 10 years time, this bizarre and personal mixture of influences and individual tastes will be de rigeur, as we all finally succumb to the postmodern bubble bath. You better learn to float now, and The Social Orphans are here to show you how!
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