There’s something eternally autumnal about singer-songwriter Kris Orlowski’s music. It’s not dark or distant like winter. It’s not blindingly bright and hot like summer. It’s not twittering with energetic anticipation like spring. It’s calm, reflected, and reserved in tone; mindful of potential harshness ahead, but also optimistically marching forward, aware that everything eventually comes full circle. Orlowski’s latest album Believer captures this spirit fully while expanding his band’s sound.
Believer feels substantially more fleshed out instrumentally than Orlowski’s previous records. More rock-orientated arrangements lets each instrumentalist play a larger role—be it through an emphasized bass riff, a pronounced electric guitar lead, or an unexpected drum fill—without significantly subtracting from Orlowski’s singer-songwriter core. Superior production also plays a big role, making each string strummed and drum beat hit sound substantially bigger than before. The title track “Believer” possesses the pop sheen to easily slide into a playlist of the modern folksy pop hit makers. “Lights” even goes so far to have a slight electro-dance feel. The one thing that hasn’t changed is Orlowski’s welcoming, no-frills vocal approach (aided by a crowd of his friends providing backup vocals). A couple of the songs (“All My People” and “Mountains”) previously appeared in calmer, orchestrated versions on Orlowski and Andrew Joslyn’s EP Pieces We Are, most clearly illustrate the band’s sonic growth. Lyrically, Orlowski can take downtrodden lines like “Constant two second fears, starving silence. Shallow minds, quick to rate, let’s consume our misery…” and spin them into an uplifting and affirming song (“Mountains”).
While he’s already nurtured a substantial group of fans in Seattle, this new record should only make more people believe in Orlowski.
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