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Nirvana - Orange And Blue CD (album) cover





3.11 | 9 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Don't forget to feed the spider"

"Orange and blue" is a collection of tracks recorded by Nirvana in their early, Island Label days, but not released at that time. The reason many of the tracks failed to gain inclusion on the band's "Simon Simopath" or "All of us" albums is that the record company rejected them as being too deviant from the band's recognised style. In 1996, principal band members Alex Spyropoulos and Patrick Campbell-Lyons got together to revive the songs. Some of the tracks appear to be in their original demo form, while others such as the opening title track (with its drug related theme) have been substantially reworked for this album. Thus, while this might technically be deemed a compilation album, it contains new material.

Most of the songs here have a much more upbeat orientation, leading the record company to suggest to the band that they "Leave this to Spooky Tooth and stick to your chamber music". Tracks such as "Stone in the water" recall the psychedelic roots of the band, while others like "As long as I can see you" and "Lost in space" have clear BEATLES influences. The latter, which includes the phasing which made the band famous on "Rainbow chaser", tells a bizarre tale of an astronaut stranded in space for 10 years with a cactus, a female ant, and a spider. The advice from mission control is "Don't forget to feed the spider". Great stuff!

"Busy man" was the first song the duo ever wrote together, presumably after listening to a KINKS album! "What are we gonna do now", which is presented here in demo form although it has the quality of a completed song, is a fine soft ballad with sensitive echoed vocals. The final track, "Our love is the sea", is another touching soft ballad. It was originally intended for Francoise Hardy to record (she had covered "Tiny goddess"), but unfortunately the song never reached her; her loss.

There is the occasional turkey, the worst of which is "Do you dream". Even Campbell- Lyons, whose cod cockney accent adorns the song, declines to comment on it in the sleeve notes! "My little red book" is little better, the poor recording deeming it pretty much unlistenable.

Also included is a cover of Seattle grunge band Nirvana's "Lithium" recorded just after the death of Kurt Cobain. The recording of this track appears to have been part of the settlement between the bands over the use of the name. It is certainly worth hearing as this Nirvana manage to stamp their identity on the song, removing any hints of grunge in the process, while creating something substantially different to their usual soft melodic pop.

In all, a thoroughly enjoyable album which captures the true character of the band far better than their early albums. If only Island records had displayed more faith in them, and allowed them to cover a more diverse range of songs, the history of the band might have been so different.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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