After listening to and adoring the wondrous tunes of David Kelley’s ‘project’, 2 a.m. Orchestra, for the past couple of years now, I finally got to see the band in all their glory – live at Hamilton’s Go Vino as part of their EP release tour around the North Island. Their performance was flawless and as tight as my dry clean only jeans that I put through the wash, so you can imagine my absolute delight to hold in my hands their EP – Fire Escape.
Since yesterday, I’ve listened to it probably ten times over, and to be honest, the thought of writing this review gets me all nervous thinking that I won’t be able to do it justice. You see, what these guys do is more than just music. They create a feeling that isn’t dissimilar to the end result of putting yourself through a tumble dryer. You come out feeling warm, fluffy, and ready to go back for a second round.
This is one EP that I’ll listen to many times over and will never become bored of starting with the first track, Fire Escape. The acoustic tune begins with Kelley’s beautifully distinctive vocals before lead guitarist;Tim Gittins joins in perfect harmony creating an absolute heart-warming experience to say the least. With an interesting mix of instruments and thought provoking lyrics, this tune will never get tired and will definitely outlive your wash machine.
Fortune & Glory follows – equally as intriguing and a little more ‘meaty’ than the previous track showing a slightly different and somewhat darker side to the band. With fond memories of Man on the Moon, which they performed at Go Vino so effortlessly, this tune is a real treat and again proves that simplicity always wins over heavy amped up ‘noise’. Kelley, Gittins and Bern’s fingerpicking is delicate, precise and about as smooth as Lindt Milk Chocolate.
The last tune on this well compiled disc titled I Can’t Sleep is Charming with a capital C. It’s fresh and innocent and just so damn cute - from the Ukulele strummed by Kelley, down to the sweet sweet lyrics. Upbeat and playful, I Can’t Sleep is the perfect end to a perfect EP, or tumble dry cycle – if you think like me. If you’ve not already discovered the wondrous 2 a.m. Orchestra, you’ve been missing out big time – get the EP.
David Kelley created 2 a.m. Orchestra in late 2000. While working on his self-titled debut, he put together a live band to support the release. Since the time of its inception, 2 a.m. Orchestra has consisted of a rotating cast of members, with Kelley as the only permanent fixture. He organised many shows in California and toured throughout the United States. He met Tim Bern in the States and was convinced to check out New Zealand. Since then the band has played numerous gigs here in NZ and recently released their second album, Impermanence, to critical acclaim.
With the intensity of Nirvana the vocal subtleties of Paul McCartney, and instrumentation on level with Muse, 2 a.m. Orchestra has delivered an album that is worthy of superlatives. Impermanence, the Auckland outfit's second release, deftly translates the chaos and elation of life, into uplifting and well-arranged rock songs - songs fused with eclecticism, vigour and exuberance. The diverse musical styles found on this album, give testimony to the band's formidable songwriting and musicianship. From sweet acoustic ballads, to epic rock anthems, frontman David Kelley demonstrates his impressive vocal range throughout. Consistent, fresh and superbly produced, Impermanence delivers on all levels.