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Orchestra Hits
LP $27.35

09/27/2024 828887116511 

UTR 165 LP 

***Aesthetically, Ed Schrader's Music Beat hates to tread water. At the same time, the Baltimore-based two-piece of vocalist Ed Schrader and bassist Devlin Rice won't force their songs to fit a preconceived style. For Orchestra Hits, the band's latest, that alteration was welcoming longtime musical comrade Dylan Going into the fold as a co-writer and co-producer. A songwriter in his own right, a guitar sideman for ESMB on their last two tours, and a collaborator with Rice in the noise riffage band Mandate , Going had both a unique vision and an intimate familiarity with the ESMB vibe. The lack of external pressure in the process gives Orchestra Hits an almost paradoxical vibe. For all of the album's layers, that mix live and sequenced instruments, it never loses the raw energy of a small handful of friends in the same room plugging in, cranking up, and playing until they pass out. Lyrically, the album finds Schrader, now 45, meditating on experiences in their youth to make sense of the present moment. With percolating synthesizer arpeggios, and climbing bass grooves, "IDKS" is the album's dance-floor slapper. Lyrically, "IDKS" is a letter from the true self to public-facing self. "It's an angry song," Schrader said. "Because the public-facing self is always looking for an easy escape, but it forces the true self into a cage. I honestly thought my lyrics were corny and was about to change them, but Dylan was digging it just the way it was. So that's what you hear." With the soaring "Daylight Commander," the band went against all of their musty-basement-bred instincts. "I went full High School Musical with the vocals," Schrader said. "At first it felt almost embarrassing, but I remember reading somewhere that Bowie recommended always floating a little bit above your comfort zone, and that's what we did here." The song is part exercise in absurdity and part pop Trojan horse. "If ever we had a 'Shiny Happy People' moment, I guess this is it," Schrader said.