Ever since I heard "Broken Wings" by the painfully '80s group Mister Mister, I've been wary of band names that repeat a word. If a band can't even come up with two different words for a group name, how are they going to come up with the words for an entire album worth of songs? When I see such names now, I avoid them altogether (most recently a rapper named Trick Trick).
Fortunately, Fire on Fire picked a cool word to use twice in their name, and they have nothing to do with '80s synth-pop or mainstream rap. If one were to compare Fire On Fire to a rap entity, the group would be more like Wu Tang Clan, a tight knit crew, each with their own unique abilities, who share mic time to create a varied yet unmistakable sound. The only difference is, Fire On Fire play folkier fare, and they reside in the less gangsta locale of South Portland, M.E.
Despite hailing from Maine's biggest city, The Orchard feels more fit for the country, on the front porch of a backwoods family filled with musical geniuses. Rather than comprising a standard guitar-heavy quintet, the group keep things fresh by swapping exotic instruments -- banjo, upright bass and accordion to name a few. As if their dense instrumental sound wasn't enough, the group also split vocal duties. Each musician gets solo time, but some of the strongest moments on Orchard come when the quintet belt out group choruses.
With such a list of instruments and vocalists, it's impressive that Orchard maintains a cohesive direction throughout. Although Orchard is the group's first full-length album, many of its members have years of experience playing together in Cereberus Shoal. The result is a collective that thrives on group members sharing talents rather than battling for center stage. The Orchard is a dark but fun look at a musical family thriving on all cylinders. It immediately sounds catchy, but the layers of sound the group created are what make the album rewarding during repeat listens.