After almost three full years without a formal release, The Orwells are back with the release of their third LP, “Terrible Human Beings.”
Whereas their second LP, “Disgraceland,” served as a musical diary of being young, restless and rambunctious in suburbia, “Terrible Human Beings” shoots daggers and drips venom. The grittier content allowed the band to display growth both musically and lyrically, which it is apparent they were more than ready to do.
The seedy tone of “Terrible Human Beings” is evident from the beginning of the album’s opening track, “They Put A Body In the Bayou.” The eerie, haunting guitar hooks and thunderous drum beats perfectly complement vocalist Mario Cuomo’s wailing pleas of “I just had to know…who put the body in the bayou?” that prevails throughout the chorus. The grim rock anthem is accompanied by an equally as sordid music video that features a nexus of politics, sex, and drugs.
“They Put A Body In the Bayou” is the perfect song to open the grit-ridden album, as it sets the tone for the rest of the songs that follow. “Creatures” is a rock anthem for the down-and-out, the dead enders who went down the wrong path and have long since realized that it is too late to turn back. “Fry,” one of the album’s more jovial, tells of the desire to escape and hide from the pressures of the world. “Black Francis” is the band’s nod to The Pixies, a group that guitarist Matt O’Keefe has cited as a major musical inspiration for “Terrible Human Beings” in a statement reported by Rolling Stone.
What is perhaps one of the album’s most hard hitting tracks is also the shortest. At just 80 seconds, “Buddy” is a rollicking piece about one-night stands that packs a strong punch in its short duration. A standout on the track is drummer Henry Brinner, who fills the song with the electric, rhythmic zing that fans have come to love so much about it.
“Terrible Human Beings” is completed with a raucous, 7 minute track entitled “Double Feature.” The song serves as the perfect conclusion to “Terrible Human Beings,” as it embodies a little of every theme and stylistic choice presented it its preceding tracks: the thumping drums of “Buddy,” the seediness of “Creatures,” the rhythmic chanting of “Black Francis,” the energy of “Fry,” and the ominous nature of “They Put a Body In the Bayou.”
What makes “Double Feature” unique, however, is its high level of musical innovation. This is why “Terrible Human Beings” is such a standout album as well as a huge step for The Orwells: it creates a nexus of their prior musical strengths that elevated them into notoriety with enhanced lyrical storytelling abilities.