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The Orwells are a rock band happily toeing the blurry line between proper and disorderly

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What’s long made this Elmhurst-bred fivesome so kinetic is that hidden within plain sight of their arena-ready garage-loyal melodies and Mario Cuomo’s cheeky, apathetic sneer is the capability or, well, desire to drunkenly toe the blurry line between proper, showman-focused rock band and degenerate, fuck-shit-up rock band. In short, the Orwells always seem to be considering whether or not to upper-deck the house party’s only working toilet. Their new Terrible Human Beings (Atlantic) plays to that tendency both in title and song, as tracks like “They Put the Body in the Bayou”—complete with that sweet undercurrent of shoegaze sustain—and “M.A.D.” are tempered by the band’s undeniable prowess at writing chorus-driven rock singles, while “Black Francis” and “Buddy,” for example, sound more ready to tatter and unravel if just a few extra doses of grunge feedback and snot get slathered on. Two other conditions needed to produce a potent rock ’n’ roll record that Terrible Human Beings abides by: there will be no more than 13 songs adding up to no more than 40 minutes . . . check, and there will be a little extra sleaze mixed in for good measure . . . check (see “Heavy Head”).   v

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