Thursday, June 02, 2011

Slurpees and Murder Record Club: When I Dance, You Move and I Can't Get Enough

Day two of Daily Post Month? Day two of Daily Post Month. I think we can all agree it's as good a time as any to bust out a new installment of the Slurpees and Murder Record Club, so I've got a special treat for you folks tonight: everybody's favourite long-defunct Winnipeg-based Prairie-Music-Award-in-the-completely-wrong-category-winning rock-band-turned-funk-band!

That's right, you guessed it:

Fast Orange - Out Tonight (1998)
Fast Orange - Sextronic (2001)
[myspace/bio | all that remains of any official site is an internet archive snapshot of a geocities page from 1999 | neither of these albums are sold anywhere online, and you'll only find them in stores through some combination of blind luck and outright magic | although the drummer does teach at quest musique now, if you wanna meet him ]

It's the complete Fast Orange discography! Both of it!

How old do I feel talking about this band? I feel so old. I am old enough that I originally found out about this band during my family's stint in Nova Scotia, and I found out about them over the internet on -- wait for this -- a 14.4 modem and the original incarnation of, way back before CNET bought it out and ruined the fuck out of it. The band's official website was on Geocities, and I am a dinosaur.

The first Fast Orange album emerged a couple of years after the band had formed in 1996 as a straightforward rock act; there are a couple of foreshadowing hints to the band's switchover the next year, tracks six and nine being no small clues, but otherwise this album represents everything you need to know about the band's rock era. They wore their influences pretty openly -- the track "Slippin' Under" sounds like the aftermath of a Vulcan Mind Meld on the New Meanies, and "Small Town" could just as easily have been titled "Hello We Are Wide Mouth Mason" -- but Out Tonight is some perfectly serviceable Can-rock, which ain't easy to fill up on now like it used to be.

It was 1999 when they flipped the switch and became a full-out funk and soul band, adding a three-piece horn section to their sound and thus crowding up the stage with eight dudes. Sextronic (often written "sextronic", and the band alternated between capitalizing and not capitalizing its name, but I'm too old to humour that kind of thing any more) was released in 2001 after the material had been honed some, and we can assume that this represents basically everything from their funk era because the band put this out and then just completely disappeared into thin air within the next year.

I'd definitely offer Sextronic as the stronger and more cohesive of the two albums, even though it suffers a bit from post-production overexuberance; a few of these tracks are just way too glossy to live, strangled into artificial smoothness as was the style of the time. (Jamiroquai was still big back then, to give you some idea -- or warning, depending on your point of view -- what people believed funk production values should sound like.) But try not to let that distract you from the energy and flow of the album, which are quite good; if you've got forty-five minutes worth of driving ahead of you, you could do a lot worse than this album. And dig that title track; you could bust that out on the radio right now and nobody would disbelieve that it was a brand new jam.

This disc even won the band a 2002 Prairie Music Award, in the last year before it expanded to the West Coast Music Awards, beating -- this is a real thing, this actually happened -- beating Gruf the Druid, War Party, and Inshaalha to to win the award for Outstanding Dance/Urban Recording. The statue could have just been a big question mark, because the general consensus among observers was "what the hell is this category", but Fast Orange won it and that's what counts and good for them.

This concludes today's installment of the Slurpees and Murder Record Club; enjoy some sweet tunes from a band that you may or may not remember anything about, and I'll see you folks tomorrow!


Fat Arse said...

"Fast Orange" is a great name for a band. If I had my own band I'd call it the "Bruised Bananas".

Anonymous said...

You should've called Quest Musique & got a bit of an interview w/ said drummer. Still, interesting post.

James Hope Howard said...

Yeah, no, you're right, that would have been a really good idea. I was writing this at eleven at night, though, so I'd kind of figured they'd be closed by then. Alas!

Anonymous said...

I went to high school with these guys. Fast Orange used to play at our high school dances all the time. Timeless music. I still have theire Out Tonight CD in my car. Thanks for Sextronic album. Many Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

I went to High school with these guys. They used to play at our dances. I still have Out tonight playing in my car, epic album.