Jimmy Haber and The Orion Experience

Jimmy Haber “New Bondi Hippies”
Jimmy Haber was a founding member of the ’80s Punk band, Degenerates and is currently a member of the musical collective, Maladaptive Solution with Michael Carpenter. Haber’s locale Bondi Beach is a popular spot in the surrounding suburb in Sydney, Australia. Much of New Bondi Hippies is served up with a heavy dose late ’60’s influences and I’m a big fan of this retro approach, as long as the music is good.

Lucky for us, the music is great. “Wonderful Life” opens with its mid-period Beatlesque psychedelic overtones, full of swirling bass and its laid back vocal make it a very neo-hippy anthem. “Mexican Sun” has a dense composition full of soaring guitar riffs in the chorus.  Like The Grip Weeds, Haber also shares the gift of great drum intros on “My Girls Random” and the flowing solos are just amazing. We get a little rock ballad blues on “Liar” about the troubles of an unreliable bandmate. “Alegra” is another sun drenched mid-tempo tune. The gem “Chelsea” starts with a powerful strum a la John Cougar Mellencamp meets The Spongetones. And “Mercenary Kind Of Girl” is a cool Monkees styled tune. Not everything has a hook, but the majority of this album does and that makes it highly recommended.

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The Orion Experience “Children of The Stars”
The transformation is complete.  The Orion Experience started several years ago as a power pop band, led by singer Orion Simprini.  With crunchy guitars and the addition of vocalist Linda Horwatt it made them an “instant” party band. After some commercial success, and getting the notice of Perez Hilton and Maroon 5 producer Jon Kaplan, they’ve grown more commercial. The bands reputation continued to grow, moving closer to ELO styled disco-pop, and they’ve even turned their show into a Broadway-styled event.

Children of The Stars is a blend of electronic, pop and rock music. Thankfully, it offers more than its top-40 ready title track. “S.T.A.R. Child” combines the disco beats with pop smarts, and Horwatt really shines with the amazing melodies on “Made 4 You” and “Dandy.” Her powerful voice reminded me of Chrissie Hynde. Psychedelic sitars and tight vocal harmonies are featured on “Heart In My Pocket.” A hokey sci-fi Aquarius style narrative runs through the album often between songs and these poems are mercifully short (listen to Moody Blues much?). The ELO influence shows up again on “Win It All” and the idealistic “Love Saves The Day,” which is a perfect merging of genres (the only danceable guitar solo I ever heard). Overall a very good album that I dare say will please the most jaded listeners of all ages.