Orange Crush - 2001 Songs For Ophelia (EP)

ARTIST: Orange Crush
ALBUM: Songs For Ophelia (EP)
LABEL: Orange Crush Music
YEAR: 2001

LINEUP: Johannes Stole - vocals, keyboards * Daniel Palmqvist - guitars * Max Flovik - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Losing It Without You * 02 Can't Believe It * 03 Ophelia * 04 The Way * 05 What I Came Here For * 06 Giving It Up (bonus track) * 07 Are You Happy Now (bonus track)



So, how many Norwegian bands can you think of? Only three spring to my mind. The underrated Stage Dolls, the disappointing Now & Then/Frontiers signings Hush and Bangles-wannabes The Tuesdays, the latter notable for their Enuff Z'nuff cover tunes.

Well, here's another for you. Say hello to Orange Crush and their debut 5 song EP 'Songs For Ophelia'. In other reviews they've been favourably compared to The Cutting Crew and I can see why.

One review even suggested that vocalist Johannes Stole sounded like Freddy Curci, a comparison I cannot grasp at all, seeing as how Johannes does not sound like he's sucked on a balloon full of helium (hey, remember the Sheriff album?)

The Songs

The opener here, 'Losing It Without You', begins very softly, with an acoustic pop feel, reminiscent of Venice, though without the big harmony vocals, before moving on to a Jude Cole style chorus, gradually building towards a big finish.

'Can't Believe It' has a more 80's feel, slightly closer to AOR, though the pop element of the opening track is still present. Once again, the chorus is fairly strong with its use of backing vocal creating a call-and-response. It reminds me of the excellent 3rd Matinee, though the vocals are not as smooth as those of Richard Page. That said, Johannes Stole still has a good voice.

The third track 'Ophelia' again resembles the aforementioned 3rd Matinee (trust me, that's a good thing). Another slower number, it's a strong contender for best song on offer here. The chorus may not be as memorable as the first two, but the overall arrangement is stronger, with the vocalist's style far better suited to the slower material.

As you probably know, over the years, a lot of pop/AOR has not been best known for its deep and meaningful lyrics (there are some exceptions. 'Love Don't Care' by Firehouse comes to mind). So it comes as a surprise that Orange Crush's song 'The Way' concerns dying children and a girl whose only friend is a needle.

I love all that Steve Perry-esque 'Whooah-oah baby tonite' stuff, and usually with AOR-based albums it's what we all want, if we're honest. But its great to see there are some bands out there writing songs with a little more depth.

The CD closes with a piano-based ballad 'What I Came Here For', which is well put together. I'd love to hear Jim Jamison or Steve Perry sing it.

In Summary

Chances are, had this CD not been posted through my door, I'd never have heard Orange Crush. Overall, although I don't love it, I think their debut has a lot of strengths.

The band are currently writing material for their full-length CD, so it'll be good to see how that turns out. Some of you out there will love 'Songs For Ophelia', though, and if you think you may be one of those people, then pay the guys a visit at site above.

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