Orange Juice

Biography

Orange Juice were one of the finest bands of the 1980s, and have had a lasting influence on modern music. Led by Edwyn Collins, Orange Juice combined elements of mid-1960s guitar rock (the Byrds, the Beatles, the VU), soul, and disco music with the energy and drive of the punk movement. The Glaswegian band signed with the small Scottish Postcard label (which would also put out material from Aztec Camera and others) and released a string of acclaimed singles. Orange Juice's jangly guitar sound, Edwyn Collins' mannered croon and his knack for quoting pop history in some of his songs (sometimes directly in lyrics or in musical quotes) sounded fresh and exciting at the start of the 1980s. Orange Juice's approach, along with their rejection of punk's violent imagery, was soon echoed -- or mirrored -- by such likeminded acts as R.E.M., the Smiths, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and short-lived teen sensations Haircut 100. With the Postcard singles earning widespread critical praise, Orange Juice quickly moved over to a major label and put out You Can't Hide Your Love Forever in 1982. This perfect guitar pop confection mirrored the better parts of being a teenager in love without containing any fake Archie comics sentiments. The same year, Orange Juice experienced major personnel changes but still managed to release the excellent Rip It Up, an even poppier LP that showed the band experimenting with many musical styles (including a pre Graceland airing of afropop, courtesy of new drummer Zeke Manyika). The title track became a hit! single in Britain and Edwyn Collins experienced a very short period as a teenage pinup. By 1984, Orange Juice were still riding a creative peak, but their fan base had moved on to lamer pastures. Too bad, because their EP Texas Fever featured a more aggressive electric guitar sound and even at six songs, it can still stand up to any of the best albums of the decade. The same year, Orange Juice were cut down to a trio, and released their self-titled swansong. Orange Juice features such superb cuts as "I Guess I'm Just a Little Too Sensitive" (later covered by Orange Juice fans Ivy), "What Presence? " and "Lean Period," a sadly accurate statement from the struggling Edwyn Collins, who would go on to have a strong solo career. Thankfully, Orange Juice's fan base grew steadily over the years and by the mid-1990s, a throng of indie pop bands were sporting a sunny guitar sound very similar to the band's early recordings, while artist's like Beck worked in a similar pop culture-influenced style as Collins. By the 2000s, a number of breakthrough acts, such as fellow Scots Franz Ferdinand and Belle & Sebastian were citing Orange Juice as a primary influence, and their song "Rip It Up" lent its title to an overview of the post-punk movement. In 2005, The Glasgow School (a collection of their Postcard material) became Orange Juice's first official U.S. release. Don't let their influence on modern indie pop cloud Orange Juice's actual music -- it has weathered the passing years surprisingly well.

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