Oranger: Doorway To Norway (1998)

Oranger were a nifty little indie rock/noise pop outfit here in the SF Bay Area who had a handful of surprisingly great but almost entirely ignored albums in the late '90s and early '00s.  Their sound has elements of retro-psychedelic pop bands like Olivia Tremor Control, power pop-tinged classic rock like early Who, and noisier indie rock bands like the Flaming Lips ("Eggtooth" here name-checks the latter, extolling the virtue of "blaring Flaming Lips and old Cheap Trick," and they slip in a blistering cover of the Lips' "Slow Nerve Action" as an unlisted bonus track at the end of the record).

Their later albums eased off on the distortion and introduced some lusher pop sounds, while still holding onto the Who-inspired power pop edge.  But I still love the debut, a messy and energetic blast of noise pop fury (though strictly in terms of length, once you strip away the dead air between the final song and the mystery track, it's more like an EP than a proper LP).

The highlight is the afore-referenced "Eggtooth," an impossibly infectious ditty driven by a chirpy keyboard hook and crunchy guitars.  It's the sort of thing that would have been #1 with a bullet in a just world, and something you'll want to crank in the car with the sun out and the windows down.  Nearly as great is opener "Mike Love, Not War," a scratchy vinyl slow-burn before a catchy repeated chorus that calls to mind Teenage Fanclub at their most rocking.  "Everything Goes Away" is a bit more off-kilter, shades of XTC; "Donald, You're Freaking Out" pairs a quiet '70s-styled pop verse with a frenetic, Pixies-fused blast of power (and, again, some shades of Teenage Fanclub in the hook); and "Jettsett Traveler" is a dose of charming retro-pop (sounding like the Who circa Sell Out), buried beneath a buzzing guitar sheen.

Here's an audio rip of "Mike Love, Not War":
...and an audio rip of "Jettsett Traveler":
Here's a live run through "Eggtooth":

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