Local Record Review: 'Cocktails & Treasure Maps' by Orange Blossom Special

Categories: Beat Blvd.
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Orange Blossom Special
Cocktails & Treasure Maps

The self-described "high-energy rock-n-roll band from southern Orange County" will be playing a May residency on Mondays at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa starting next week, so it only makes sense to give an ear to what Orange Blossom Special are up to on their debut EP, originally released last year. With a name drawn from an old standard made famous by performers like Bill Monroe and Johnny Cash, it wouldn't've been surprising if they kicked in with a bit of bluegrass swing or rockabilly energy.

However, from the slight crackle starting "Wishful Thinking" suddenly lurching into a full-on radio-punk-meets-hard-rock-boogie attack, things aren't so much Man in Black as Back in Black--or at the least, that's one of the albums on their eternal playlist. (Who could blame them, really?) Over its six songs, Cocktails & Treasure Maps doesn't find the band--consisting, according to their various bandsites, of one Anton, one Alan and "two first round draft picks yet to be named"--carving out any new space for themselves. It is however pretty much aiming at exactly what they sound like they want to be, and there's nothing wrong with a little swagger on songs like "Shooting Daggers" and "Romancin' Disaster"--the latter of which has also just enough of a glam-shred tinge to raise a friendly smile.

Truth be told there was a time when it seemed like there were nothing but bands doing something in this vein around the late '80s when it came to classic rock-themed radio--and a little of it often went a long way. So a shifting of context never hurts much in that Orange Blossom Special stand out a bit more when they once might have been lost in the crowd--but they seem to having the time of their life on songs like "Past Few Years" even when they talk about not being able to pay the rent and working two jobs, just to chase the dream a bit. Nothing wrong at all with biting the bullet and going for it.

Various clips of the band can be found on their YouTube channel, including this one:


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