By Lewis Bunney (@BunneyLewis)
Paul Orwell is a very hard man to get hold of. His nostalgic but refreshing brand of rock ’n’ roll, clearly influenced by the British Invasion of the ‘60s, has been something of a sleeper hit (I had to wait for the second release of Blowing Your Mind Away). Releasing material exclusively to vinyl gives a Paul Orwell record an air of old-fashioned cool, like wearing your new suit down to Brighton for the weekend.
Paul’s debut opens with the crunchy lead single ‘Like I Did Before’, an absolute gem of track. The distorted guitars give the attitude, a punk-like defiance as Orwell declares ‘I won’t take your shit no more.’ An organ complements the melody but also drives the song with a solo rounding off the classic feel of 60s rebellion. ‘You’re Nothing Special’, released on the same 7 inch as ‘Like I Did Before’, is the breakup song done correctly, playing with emotions ever so slightly with sympathetic organs and jubilant toms. Orwell’s musical prowess is all over this album but certain tracks stand out more than others. ‘Payback’ brings the organ back for an energetic track that feels designed to get crowds moving with its pacey drum beat. This is Orwell at his most confident.
‘Blowing Your Mind Away’ is the title track for a reason. Here, Mr. Orwell has really encapsulated the psychedelic pop sound of the mid-sixties. With a killer riff as a foundation, Orwell’s vocals coast over, ‘blowing your mind away’. While the studio-mastered version can’t quite match the urgency of the live performance it’s a valiant effort. A lot of albums end of more sombre, downtempo tracks to help bring the experience to a close. Fortunately Paul Orwell doesn’t really do it like anyone else, ending the album with ‘Fangz’, a mix of 60s style funk with hard rock, drenched in organs and rebellion. This one will make you dance.
Blowing Your Mind Away is an odd thing: a fresh-sounding trip into the 60s, a contemporary retelling of the familiar. A great debut by the young rocker.