Allen Clapp has always steered The Orange Peels forward, and as a top shelf power pop band they’ve thrived. But for their 5th album Sun Moon, Clapp loosens the reins and let’s a little darkness seep into the shimmering world of guitar jangle and sugary melody. Bassist Jill Pries shares writing duties and John Moreman adds his superior guitar craft. The results are a less predictable and more creative album.
Staring with “The Words Don’t Work” special kudos go out to drummer Gabriel Coan’s echoing beat that anchors the expansive chorus. “Bicentennial Bridge” is another gem that starts with a simple acoustic strum and builds along its Big Star inspired melody. The arrangements are top notch and the albums modern pop aesthetics are married perfectly to the classic Orange Peels template. Fans of The Posies will enjoy the layered guitar hooks on “Your Heroes.” “Traveling West-Sundowns” is a calming harmony filled pause, leading to the solid “Grey Holiday.” Clapp’s vocals throughout the album are crisp and forceful. “Watch Her Fly” has a relaxed rhythm that builds to a frenzied peak, and every song here sticks to your brain after repeated listening. Makes my top-ten for 2013 easily.