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Bright Idea

Studio Album by released in 2006
Bright Idea's tracklist:
Bright Idea
No Tomorrow
Happiness
Already Over
Tryin' to Help
So Ahead of Me
Last Night
Look Around
Saving the World
The Okay Song

Bright Idea review

Orson grabs the limelight even before their music is heard

Named after legendary actor Orson Welles, this Hollywood quintet formed in 2000, playing what they describe as “two guitar power-pop”. Singer Jason Pebworth was drawn to music having heard the likes of Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, and Radiohead, but the band had little success securing a deal in their native land. Their performance at Manchester’s In The City showcase soon changed that, and they’ve since had a top five single in the UK. Every now and again a band comes along who slip so insidiously into the public consciousness that you wonder whether or not they're the result of some weird governmental mind control experiment. One day you're doing the washing up and idly wondering what the name of the band who've made the song which you can't stop whistling is, the next thing you know you're hearing the same catchy riffs on builder's radios, coming from taxi windows and back gardens. No Tomorrow, the standout single from this new album from Orson is the work of one of these bands. Looking like a cross between the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and the cast of Donnie Brasco, Orson grabs the limelight even before their music – a heady mix of rock, pop and retro soul – is heard. So it’s a good thing that the songs on Bright Idea more than live up to the hype, exhibiting punchy, occasionally quirky rock with a real commercial edge.

Part Rolling Stones, part Fun Lovin’ Criminals and part Robbie Williams

Orson's gorgeous, authentic morphing of pop, rock, R&B and soul (think early Prince meets Queen) seduces most who hear it. The superb opening title track is a blend of sassy rock and pure pop melody, marking out lead singer Jason Pebworth as a star front man in the making, thanks to his great voice and the self-confident delivery of someone who has had roles in Broadway musicals Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar. The song has a touch of funk, and leads into recent single No Tomorrow, the afore-mentioned record setter. A rock-dance hybrid, its infectiousness makes it easy to understand why it was chosen as the first release from the album. Orson’s sound is part Rolling Stones, part Fun Lovin’ Criminals and part Robbie Williams. The power-pop of Already Over begs comparisons with Butch Walker. The urgency and verve of Tryin’ To Help contrast wonderfully with the laid-back retro vibe of the brilliant Happiness. A throbbing rhythm section gauzed with layers of twin-guitar interplay, along with Pebworth's epic Morrissey-meets-Mercury vocals, makes for a mass-appeal package.

Bright Idea in its present form is a smash hit waiting to happen

Unusually for an act with obvious musical and onstage chemistry, Orson was assembled through ads, auditions and word of mouth: Guitarists Chad Rachild and George Astasio tried out more than 40 vocalists before Jason Pebworth answered their call. Scene veteran Johnny Lonely brought supple bass lines, and more recently the unflappable Chris Cano took over the drum stool from the departed Johnny Fedevich. Packed with undeniably cool, original and memorable tunes, Bright Idea proves that LA's best-kept secret can't remain under wraps for too much longer. Throughout, producer Noah Shain and mixer Evan Frankfort give the songs a slick, crisp, yet somehow understated production. And although the album may be tweaked slightly when given an official UK release on May, 15, the fact is that Bright Idea in its present form is a smash hit waiting to happen. Sure, this album isn't going to appeal to everybody – you're going to have to be pretty into your guitar pop music and not mind the odd Hall & Oates-style guitar solo to be able to listen to it the whole way through – but many will have massive smiles on their faces listening to it, which can only be a good thing.

(31.03.2006)
Rate review4.15
Total votes - 19


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