JAMES BLONDE – International Orange

Lemon Cello 2000 / IAC 2018

Trying to seize the mood of the day, American power-pop trio stumble upon desire to make a moment last – and trip over it.

JAMES BLONDE - International Orange

International Orange

They started out in the early ’80s and saw a third coming at the turn of a century without making a splash, but this band’s brace of releases can testify to their determination. “International Orange” is a document of the little ensemble’s resolute stance… which eventually got the better of them.

Optimistic to the bone, as outlined by the overall sound that’s set on “Never Complain” and doesn’t go away until the end, the album is firmly rooted in rhythm-and-blues, yet these songs bear an AOR effusiveness in its fuzzy grooves. More so, the yarns Eric Westphal is weaving here often demonstrate unexpected twists – what with “So Sorry” lending a catchy tune to quite an unapologetic crunch – while the twangy “Your Life Story” and the bluesy “Isabel” create an additional narrative arc.

Rob Warren’s scintillating six strings render “Night Life” a stand-out, dancefloor-conquering piece, worth the price of admission alone, and were the group focused on harder aspect of pop they’d ride the charts. Still, there’s a curse which makes this brief album so flawed: most of the songs are flogged to death by infinite refrains and riffs that refuse to stop even when the initially infectious rocking has run its rolling course. As a result, the otherwise irresistible numbers like “Marie” or “Money” fail to deliver a punch. The trio’s potential lost its momentum: a pity, indeed.


December 8, 2018

Category(s): Reissues
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