Orange Peels: So Far (2000)

Summer's nearly here, and the Orange Peels are just about the perfect summer band -- jangly sunshine pop, sweet (but not too sticky), nostalgic (but with a contemporary feel), and eminently hummable.

San Francisco Bay Area-based Allen Clapp has been releasing records with various iterations of the band for nearly a quarter century, all of which (including a solo album which, unsurprisingly, sounds exactly like an Orange Peels record) have a handful of stellar stand-out tracks, with the balance never anything less than perfectly pleasant.

I'm partial to So Far, the band's second release, which is just chock full of great pop music, with all the hooks of a great power pop album but sporting a more baroque, late 60s sunshiny vibe. Opening track "Back In San Francisco" is a perfect scene-setter, clean-toned guitars with plenty of reverb, insanely melodic; close your eyes, and you're riding a bicycle in the sunshine along the Embarcadero sometime circa 1968, the psychedelia of the Summer of Love well out of view in some far-off universe. "You're So Clever" is even better, hopelessly infectious despite the biting, back-handed lyrics. "The Pattern On The Wall" is delightful, Americanized Britpop; "Redwood City," named for the suburb one-over from where I'm currently sitting, is another nice one.

If you need a chiming, shimmering soundtrack for your sunny afternoon, this one gets the job done.

Here's an audio rip of "Back in San Francisco":
...and an audio rip of "You're So Clever":
 Here they are performing the title track: