STEREO EMBERS EXCLUSIVE PREMIER – The Orange Peels’ “Square Turns To Circle” from just-released Mystery Lawn Music compilation

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The album is called Friends & Frenemies and it contains a dozen and a half swirling sterling pop gems flush with an astute pop intelligence as we’ve come to expect from the esteemed imprint Mystery Lawn Music. This is the first ever compilation the label has released and we have to assume the idea to do so was accompanied by this sort of heel-of-palm-to-forehead gesture and a cry of ‘What took us so long?!,’ as the roster of talent crowding label owner Allen Clapp’s rock’n’rolodex capable of producing “pure pop for now people” is as deep as any such stable in the known universe. For those reasons and a thousand more we here at SEM are proud to premier the first airing of the collection’s final track, a splashing crash of hypnotic power-pop called “Square Turns To Circle” by Clapp and Jill Pries’ standard-bearing band The Orange Peels. Aching with a crystalline melancholia that ultimately finds its strength in a searing jangle and the pop trance value of the title being repeated to the point of becoming an almost narcotic mantra, the song also benefits from the vast encyclopedic repertoire of ingrained instincts its author has to draw from, with flavors and inferences of Big Star Rundgren the Beatles the Raspberries and even a touch of post-baggy Britpop glory a la Teenage Fanclub . Last heard ’round these hallways when we covered their 2015 album of survival pop Begin the Begone, there could simply not be a better band to rep this lustrous new compilation than The Orange Peels, though it needs be said that this track, good as it is, would be best considered the emblematic gateway drug to a sustained euphoria offered throughout the whole of Friends & Frenemies, a pack of songs by bands – check the names on the cover above – whose specialty would appear to be making the challenge of creating perfect pop seem relatively effortless. [Friends & Frenemies available from Mystery Lawn Music here]