If I were to tell you to close your eyes and think of Hawaiian music, what would you think of? Most people would impulsively say something to do with a ukulele, some might even have a group like The Brothers Cazimero ready to go, shooting from the hip. The preconceptions around music based out of a place as picturesque and iconic as Hawaii can be a massive help to certain acts, or it can only knock bands down a peg trying to go against this exact image. What some don’t realize is that a place as beautiful as the state of Hawaii is just as versatile as any other in the amount of diverse art it can birth. Enter: Honolulu-based rock outfit Executive Order.
Lead singer Joseph Olson was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up with the focused goal of becoming a rockstar. Bringing an LA twang to the band with his songwriting, he forged a musical pact with Rich Elg and James Anthony Hewahewa Christian to bring Executive Order together as a trio. Guitarist Elg, born in New Jersey but raised since childhood in Oahu, Hawaii, and bassist Christian, coming from Kailua, Hawaii in his teens, both bring their own respectively unique backgrounds to throw in carefully-crafted influences, creating even deeper layers for the trio to draw from in the studio. Referencing a wide array of musical impressions in a variety of bands and genres, Executive Order has arrived on the scene with the single “Some Like It Hot,” fresh off their debut album All Bleed Red.
“Some Like It Hot” opens like a lit cigarette at a gas station. That is to say, it EXPLODES from the speakers with sharp jabs from horns, guitars, and drums alike before settling into a fire-like groove that shreds with aggressive, punching horns not far behind, as lead singer Olson opens up with lyrics about the hot passion that comes with the territory of, well, “liking it hot,” for our younger readers. The touches of rock groups such as Led Zeppelin and Van Halen are evident, but the band’s own unique makeup from Los Angeles and Hawaii takes these acts up a notch by throwing in a melodic flavor all their own. Notably, bassist Christian strums a groove so vibrant it only further elevates the front and center guitarwork from Elg. The lyrics are noteworthy for the catchiness, too, and the song features a chorus melodic enough to notice yourself humming along to it later on in the day (or even days to come.) Guilty, Your Honor.
Songs like this make the job of a critic pretty simple, as it’s easy to recommend a track as punchy and fun as “Some Like It Hot.”
There’s a machine-like devotion to the craft of the song on full display, and the bandmates are gleeful with how grand a time they’re having – one can only imagine how energetic and fun an Executive Order live show must be. Listeners should remain eager to see what the band has up its sleeve in regards to the future of Executive Order, as I know I am.
by Patrick Orr