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2 a.m. Orchestra - Fire Escape | EP Review

20 Sep 2010 // A review by amandashootsbands

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.

Words by Amanda Ratcliffe

 

About 2 a.m. Orchestra

Based on an epidemic of insomnia-inflicting inspiration, 2 a.m. Orchestra was the name chosen by David Kelley while working on some recordings in early 2000. Just prior to the release of what would be the first album (2 a.m. Orchestra, 2001), Kelley formed and prepped a band to play in support of the release. From that time, the live line-up has varied widely, from a 2-piece snare drum and guitar duo, to an instrument-swapping 6-piece. Kelley did a number of U.S. tours with these various line-ups (and even a solo tour). Such personnel fluctuations continued on up through the 2nd full-length release, Impermanence (2005), which proved to be an apt, if not intentional title as the ever-changing live show became the band’s most noted characteristic.

After the release of Impermanence Kelley began travelling, living abroad and performing in various locations such as New York, Central America and even China. 2 a.m. Orchestra was put on the back-burner while Kelley toured with various projects: a country band that did shows for troops at international military bases, a theatre company performing a rock opera, and a percussion trio that gigged at state fairs. However, Kelley continued to write and record throughout this period. During two consecutive summers, the songwriter made a makeshift project studio from his grandmother’s country house located on the outskirts of his hometown (Fresno). These periods were spent compiling, writing, and recording a significant percentage of what now constitutes the entire 2 a.m. Orchestra catalogue (the vast majority of which remains unreleased).

Over the years, 2 a.m. Orchestra has primarily remained a solo endeavour – a one-man recording project with occasional outbursts of live performances. One such outburst occurred in 2008, a year after Kelley moved to Los Angeles. The L.A. band was a four-piece powerhouse with a turbo-charged rhythm section, gritty vocals, and surf-tone guitars. The band played sporadically, packing out indie venues like The Derby and Molly Malone’s.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for 2 a.m. Orchestra

Releases

2 a.m. Orchestra
Year: ????
Type: Album
Trading Graves
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Working To Divide
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Live At Lopdell House Theatre
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Fire Escape
Year: 2010
Type: EP
Impermanence
Year: 2005
Type: Album

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