1-2-3-4 Go! Ever since the heyday of CBGB’s, punk front men have chronically adopted a faux-British snarl in an effort to sound oh-so-cool (Joey Ramone, I’m looking in your direction). Fortunately for L.A. outfit Orange, British transplant and lead singer Joe Dexter’s London-meets-SoCal punk growl comes off very genuine. Hellcat Records founder Tim Armstrong (Operation Ivy/Rancid) is known for having a good ear for talent, and road warriors Orange are a continuing testament to that reputation.
Overall, Escape From L.A. is a fairly harmless and fun sophomore release, featuring a slew of upbeat and catchy bursts of pop punk. Dexter’s band mates provide a solid backbeat, albeit it against tried-and-true punk melodies and chord progressions. Hey, we’re not talking Brain Salad Surgery here, but that’s perfectly fine. Big guitars, plenty of snare and bombastic choruses will certainly entertain the Warped Tour crowd. The final track, an audacious cover of Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon is a hoot (yes kids, he is mocking Billie Joe) and a fitting end to a surprisingly enjoyable record. Escape From L.A. makes you wish you could still fit into your old Ramones t-shirt.
By Ben Ricci