TOC’s Point of Reference // Gonzo Review

Point of Reference, The Orange Constant’s sophomore studio album, manages to surpass their very clean and professional release from August: Live at Sit-N-Spin Studios. This is an experimental thread that takes you off the beaten path through one person’s experience of the album, we hope you enjoy. Oh and stream the album while you read by scrolling to the bottom and playing the Bandcamp plugin.

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Front to Back

“Float” – The softly spoken intro built on Andrew’s melodic guitar entrenched upon syncopated drum & bass over the high end organ hum. The sound swells into the crest of a high and beautiful wave till it hits that place where water finally breaks and rolls back. Broken by Lee’s technically pleasing drum paradiddle queued on top of hi-hat breaks as Andrew sings softly painting a lyrical painting with gentle strokes accompanied by classy piano.

Nick’s driving guitar and Chris’s key breakdowns are reminiscent to an old PGroove styling, back when they were still a Statesboro/Savannah area jam band. Like “walking in place” or  “sun dog” the band jumps into another inversion that lands them in a positive pocket of good vibrations; including eloquently phased lyrics cherried atop, completing the sweet sundae-like song that even includes perfectly placed electric hi-hats sprinkled in. For those of you not streaming the album from the bottom of the review while reading, hopefully you can imagine this all around perfect intro track.

“Something we can use” incorporates well used horns and percussion that diverts from the typical funk or jazz sound that normally goes hand in hand with brass. Instead they bring it back to an early 90s era, post grunge-back to basics rock structure that will remind some of the relaxed rockers with, Cake.

“Sir Martin’ is by far my favorite Track on record due to shear ingenuity, truthfully original structure, and intimate passion that can be felt emanating from the band whilst making a legitimate connection to the listener.

The title track “Point of Reference” leads with Tyler’s multi-step bassline that does a little more than walking. Singing about 441 which is near and dear to many of our hearts, brings back nostalgic memories that float about through the brain like the ebb & flow of this tune. Whether you are Jack Kerouac, a touring a band, or hell just been on a road trip through GA then you will be able to relate to this intentful track. 

As your body acclimates to the dreamy blanket that whooshes through your ears, be weary; there is a sharp turn ahead. The car derails, only for a moment, and drops you into a Mad Hatter trip down into a deep dark K hole only to lead back into a place of content because “the stars will guide you”.

“Ego Chatter” comes in hot, hitting a funky intro with building horns and would be an absolute treat to see live. The verse kicks in with a backing reggae vibe and is given the signature TOC treatment with washes of dark paint pallets providing more character than your typical ska, irey, or dub song.

“Red Ryder” struts in packing a GA Southern twang that is served with a healthy helping of psychedelic breakfast with Syd. The down tuned mood gets entwisted in a somber dead confederate sigh; with their last breath they squeeze out a scream for a single sip of drink. The final drop of water drips onto the desert dwelling of Morrison, as the keys are surpassed only by the vocal echoes throughout the cave for one last rebel yell before the light sinks beneath the earth. Rest in peace Red Ryder.

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Insight about the Band

The Orange Constant formed in August 2012 and quickly made a name for themselves in Statesboro, GA. Now, The Orange Constant resides in Athens, GA and performs in venues all over the Southeast and continues to grow their fan-base with their contemporary yet vintage rock sound. TOC recorded their debut album, Time to Go with Grammy nominated producer John Keane (REM, Widespread Panic) which was released June 19th, 2015. Time to Go garnered praise from many publications, including Relix Magazine, who included TOC in their “On the Verge” column in the October-November 2015 issue. In addition, they have played on bills that include Perpetual Groove, TAUK, The Mantras, and Atlas Road Crew. TOC won the 2016 Flagpole Athens Music Award for best “Jam/ Funk”. Their second LP Point of Reference, out in March 2017, demonstrates their urge to break genre restrictions and find a sound to call their own.

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Credits

The album was recorded at Chase Park Transduction in Athens during October – December 2016 with Drew Vandenberg (discography includes of Montreal, Mothers, Kishi Bashi), and was mastered by Joe Lambert (catalog includes Animal Collective, Local Natives, The Black Crowes).

Containing songs written over a span of four years, Point of Reference displays a striking maturity in TOC’s songwriting. Compared to their debut album Time to Go, this release embraces more risk taking in the studio, fueled by Vandenberg’s experimental leanings. Although TOC has been labeled a jam band in the past, this release demonstrates that they are more likely to be inspired by 70’s AOR and contemporaries like My Morning Jacket than Phish.

Clickable Links: Website. Soundcloud. Facebook

*All photos by Jacquelyn R. Griswold – check out her IG here*

Written By

Kyle Dee

Be Funky. Be Present. Be You.

#keepATLfunky

#keepATHENSfunky

#keepMILLYfunky

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