California Oranges Souvenirs

There’s nothing quite like musical incest where band members move freely between a whole bunch of bands, and Sacramento’s California Oranges are a prime example of how twisted a musical family tree can be. These five musicians are also involved in Holiday Flyer, the Sinking Ships, Rocketship and probably a whole bunch more that they keep quiet about. Not surprisingly, this band sound like a mix of the others, yet they manage to sound a lot more appealing than a generic blend and the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. That doesn’t mean that they stray too far from their indie pop roots on Souvenirs, with most songs taking a relentlessly upbeat approach that doesn’t leave much room for subtlety. Both male and female band member take turns on lead vocals, but that only goes to demonstrate that John Conley’s vocals are one of the band’s weakest links — the lovely female vocal harmonies are much more appealing. With each subsequent album, the California Oranges have become more accomplished and polished, so Souvenirs is definitely the best record they’ve made. The tunes are catchier than ever and when it comes to pure pop thrills, they hardly put a foot wrong. (Darla)