The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: The Orwells – ‘Terrible Human Beings’ (Atlantic)

  • 6/10
    - 6/10


With another helping of scuzzy garage-rock revivalism, not much has changed on The Orwells’ third album ‘Terrible Human Beings’.

Authenticity is a difficult box to tick living in world where, for a long time, sources of inspiration have felt drained by years of musical innovation. It’s difficult when fresh ideas have become an endangered species and popular trends lie practically waiting to be manipulated. Whilst none of this is problematic, it does demand an even greater quality for those wishing to compete with the excess of sound fashioning popular music. Like their many American suburbia-dwelling counterparts, The Orwells don’t shy away from the fact that their laddish, garage rock is no more authentic than some longhaired guy wearing a Ramones T-shirt.

Of course, there’s nothing at all wrong with this, but the attention generated from their career-making performance on David Letterman three years ago has started to look a little exhausted on the exterior. The Orwells have always been frantic, and few changes have been made to their formula on third album, Terrible Human Beings. In fact, to be perfectly honest, practically nothing has changed. Still rolling through the straightforward, catchy riffs and regulation burnout lyrics, The Orwells’ punk for the masses is a total pastiche of the textbook noughties formula.

The rock ‘n’ roll energy that oozes from their live shows still resonates within the lo-fi melodies, and even the lyrics of lead single ‘They Put A Body In The Bayou’ with Mario Cuomo singing, “good boys come in last / bad girl by my side / popping pills on the fly / cold grave when I die” don’t sound as corny as you’ve probably have already condemned them. But that’s about as far as it goes.

Beyond making noughties indie relevant once more, The Orwells are becoming little more than a singles band with a good reputation. Though their persistence lands comfortably upon the ear, there are simply no real enduring factors to transform their sound into anything more meaningful. Every song washes over you like you’re sat listening to a mate’s pre-drinks playlist. Each track bears little differentiation from one another, fundamentally catering to ideal background listening.

But if you don’t expect too much, Terrible Human Beings isn’t all that bad of an album. Maybe you’re a fan of 2014’s Disgraceland, and if so, you’re probably not in for a totally disappointing listen. Their recently retroactive formula is easy pickings laid on an appetising platter for a large audience of angst-driven adolescents to devour accordingly. Perhaps, for this reason, other reviews will hail them the second coming that rock music needed? Except you can’t be the second coming when we’re all still pretty bored of the first time round. (6/10) (Ollie Rankine)

Listen to Terrible Human Beings here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.