Wild Sweet Orange's Descent Into Madness

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Ten Dead Dogs"
  • Artist: Wild Sweet Orange
  • CD: We Have Cause to Be Uneasy
  • Genre: Pop
Wild Sweet Orange 300

In "Ten Dead Dogs," Wild Sweet Orange bares a young man's tortured post-adolescent soul. David McClister hide caption

itoggle caption David McClister

Wild Sweet Orange began in the suburbs of Birmingham, Ala., where its members grew up and played together. The isolated suburban setting features largely in the group's vivid debut album, We Have Cause to Be Uneasy. Wild Sweet Orange's folk-based pop sound and colorful imagery are comparable to Josh Ritter's studies in haunted Americana, but the band's focus is directed inward, and more tragic than nostalgic.

The album-opening "Ten Dead Dogs" isn't exactly upbeat, but it's not quite a ballad, either: It's a catchy and unaffected, matter-of-fact account of a young man's descent into madness. With a soft, lovely voice, singer Preston Lovinggood sets a grim scene — "I woke up in water and wrapped myself around the toilet seat / I spoke in tongues and took all my clothes off" — as the twang of an acoustic guitar rings over the countermelody of a distant electric, all carefully layered over light drumming.

The record is beautifully written and produced, but joy can be hard to come by on We Have Cause to Be Uneasy. It's usually overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness and regret in a vibrant baring of the tortured post-adolescent soul.

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