Tangled between the guitar riffs and their blurred synthesized brilliance, Reliant Tom has achieved a powerful audio journey in the intriguing Bad Orange. Released in early November from Diversion Records, the New York-based duo leaves little doubt that the new voice of rock music is here and they are showing off their skills.
Reliant Tom – Claire Cuny and Monte Weber – describe their process as capturing “what it’s like to live in the new American dystopia.” As a listener, I felt very secure and enamored with the instrumental choices and even more so with Cuny’s stunning voice. Dystopia? Maybe so. But, with Reliant Tom, the reliance is in the music and the bright spots are all nine of Bad Orange’s tracks.
Nearly every song is a standout. Weber can at times muddy up the bridge of the songs – like in “SOS” where you think it’s taking a different direction. At first it was a bit of a distraction, but after a few listens, it feels like a better fit. It’s as if you need to freak out and get re-focused – the white noise is loud and jarring. Cuny’s timbre and adeptness is obvious. Her transparency in songs like the title track and “Poor You” string together the dark and the light. Her voice changes the listener. She follows you like a shadow long after the track ends.
I found the song “Alien” to be Weber’s best-laid plans—just brilliant, beauty in the movement of sound. Close your eyes and see the colors, feel the connection of reverb and traveling tones. Weber’s details and originality in this track is cause for celebration. Cuny’s command is central to the song’s success, too. The song grips you and takes you to far off spaces. The lyrics “I am not myself today” seem to have several meanings. How did we get to this point in history? Is it about being depressed and the songwriter feels as though he or she can’t fit in anywhere? Loneliness? Call it what you want, but it rocks.
“Someday I’ll be King” is the last track and just as the others, it carries much weight with a rock sound. Surprisingly, this song felt the most danceable to me. Don’t get me wrong, they can all be dance tracks, but this one spoke louder to my core’s rhythm.
Bad Orange receives a solid A+ grading. Any fan of Radiohead will want this in their musical library or added to their Spotify playlist (special nod to “Counterfit” and then “Divergent” to get you going in the morning, but also be sure to hit repeat on “Alien”). With so many choices out there and so many bands making great albums, Reliant Tom is a diamond in the rough. They really shine and have the goods. I hope to hear more from them and on my next stop to New York – fingers crossed they are playing live and I can catch a set. If it’s like their album, I’m sure the live set will surpass expectations.