3 Mar 2021
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2 a.m. Orchestra - Single Review: Free

07 Nov 2019 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

2 a.m. Orchestra have been receiving accolades for their varied music for almost two decades and their live line-up changes just as frequently as the musical approach. At the heart of it all is singer, songwriter and composer David Kelley who started the project in the early hours of the night — hence the name.

Free is the latest offering from Kelley, a soft rock heart stirrer that washes over you like the third act reprise of a 90's teen movie. The song involves a playful bass line and a chorus that gets you singing along even before the end of the first listen. Acoustic and electric guitars are panned expansively and create a dream-like atmosphere. Some nice harmonies send the song out and invite a replay.

This incarnation's band line-up hasn't been announced as of writing this article, and we don't yet know how this single will relate to the larger body of work it belongs to. 2 a.m. Orchestra's cult following will be waiting with bated breath to discover what form this band will take in the months to come.


Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

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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