Orange Mothers Greatest Hits

Orange Mothers were, apparently, the greatest unknown college rock band of the ’90s. Well regarded in their native Texas, they released four albums before calling it a day and going their own way. They did manage to find some local notoriety because of an ongoing, one-sided feud with the Butthole Surfers, which never culminated in the drinking contest they were hoping for, so their level of notoriety was disappointingly low. Fortunately, they left behind enough good songs during their ten-year career to justify a retrospective compilation. The songs on the ironically-titled Greatest Hits have aged remarkably well. It seems that many other bands finally caught up with the Orange Mothers, and their laidback, country-tinged sound fits in nicely with the current music scene. They sound like a strange mix of Giant Sand, Grandaddy and They Might Be Giants, and while their music is a little predictable, it manages for the most part to stay interesting. Singer Ethan Azarian’s bizarre lyrics add a surreal touch to the proceedings (as does his artwork), but surprisingly it isn’t the band’s quirkiness that lets it down rather the uniformity of the music. Still, there are some rather good moments and they might still find that wider audience. (Basakaru)