The Australian music scene is a singular thing, producing musical beasts every bit as strange and wonderful as the platypus and the kangaroo. But for every Mick Hart, Augie March or Powderfinger producing audacious new music there's a band like Just Orange producing formulaic schlock.
The band are actually a mix of nationalities, but claiming German and Swedish influence as well as Aussie only underlines the shame of having such undersized musical muscles. This runt of a CD holds out for just under 33 minutes before it goes under with a whimper, pushing songs of such teeth-grinding mediocrity that you're only thankful the band didn't stick at it longer.
Best moment is the vaguely rock-inflected I'll Be There, which borrows its gothic stylings from Evanescence and its romantic petulance from Alanis Morrissette. It's all downhill from here though, with most of the songs struggling to emulate a low-budget Texas, and even the wannabe radio anthem I'm Free failing to convince.
Perhaps there's a language barrier, but in terms of lyrical content they'd have been better off setting the phone book to music. The songs are packed with rhyming-dictionary cliché; "Sometimes I feel small and I stare at the wall . . ." and puerile metaphor; "My life looks like the sun and it feels like the rain . . .", not to mention such curiosities as, "Now that I have you everything is queer."
Such sins could be forgiven if the music had any balls - but this is terminally lightweight, full of coy vocals, diffident guitar and keyboard strings so cheesy you could use them to bait a mousetrap.
The best thing about this album is the cover art - some wonderful skyscapes with all the warmth and colour the music so patently lacks. And what do you know – the photographer doesn't even get a credit.
:: Clare O'Brien