Orbs
Asleep Next to Science


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
September 17th, 2010 | 257 replies | 28,218 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shyamalan twist: Orbs wrote a fun progressive rock album!

If you were me and I were you, we'd both expect a Dan Briggs side project to be chock-full of solid bass work, and Asleep Next to Science certainly is. But here's the Shyamalan twist: Dan Briggs is the guitarist. Weird, right?

It's the tip of the iceberg. Shyamalan twists are everywhere.

Would you expect an ex-Abigail Williams and current Cradle of Filth keyboardist to be part of a uniquely awesome prog-rock band? Well she is. This one. Would you expect Adam Fisher's whiny, kind of petulant vocals to work outside of his time with Fear Before? Well they do. And if you think the tone I'm writing in is childish and irritating, I'd advise you to stay far away from Asleep Next to Science. It's kind of a weird one.

Lazy comparisons are worth a lot, and in Orbs' case you're getting a mix of Yes, Mew and amphetamines. Asleep Next to Science is what you get when a bass virtuoso starts finger picking a guitar alongside two members from an increasingly irrelevant post-hardcore act and an attractive girl who's talented in spite of her choice to work almost exclusively with terrible black metal acts. What's weirdest is it's a progressive rock album that works because it's a lot of fun to listen to. There's a common theme throughout its 9 tracks but without a stuffy, pretentious concept, noticing it is up to you.

“A Man of Science” introduces said theme, which is a loose connection between faith and science. The nearly six minute cut breezes by surprisingly quick thanks to tense work on the keyboards and Fisher's delivery. Replacing 'God' with 'Science', he truncates cries of “Oh my Science, he's on the roof again, citing scripture and throwing up his...” until the song's climax.

“Does he think he's conducting some great orchestra? Because he's waving his hands and I can't help but saying, 'Oh my Science, he's on the roof again[...]and throwing up his hands.”

It's lyrics like this that make the album so much fun. They're weird, and in the case of “Kid Cancer” completely nonsensical, but just peculiar enough to make you pay attention. Paired with the band's solid grasp on tension and climaxes and Asleep Next to Science is much better than it needs to be.

Even “People Will Read Again,” with its incessant piano rolls and intermittent references to the Chupacabra works for most of its ten-plus minutes. At fourteen minutes, “Eclipsical” is even longer, but it works, too. Fragmented and segmented, “Eclipsical” devolves into a grunge-influenced acoustic number before climaxing with Briggs' lone guitar solo. Have I mentioned he finger-picks exclusively? Shyamalan twist.

Asleep Next to Science isn't for everyone. The vocals are whiny and incredibly nasally, and the lyrics fall awkwardly between pretentious and absurd. After an hour-plus of progressive gibberish its easy to tune out, but the expansive nature of these songs paired with how remarkably catchy they are means you can always tune right back in. Each member of Orbs displays their technical muscles without obstructive flexing. And the lyrics...

Shouldn't have stayed but I get carried away
Like a kid in a candy store, pocket full of razorblades.
Sticking gum in sister's hair, or in the back of my pants.
[...]
Shouldn't have stayed but I got ***ing outplayed!
And the demon advanced with a hidden agenda: Me
[...]
They call me kid cancer, the beast calls me son
I haven't yet decided, it this a chore or is this fun?

That's from “Kid Cancer”, the second part of “The Northwestern Bearitories”. With lyrics, you should at least feel obligated to check it out. You might hate it or you might not. At the very least it should get a grin out of you.



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3.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If I had one, this is where I'd post a picture of John Hanson and I high-fiving.

Oh, and two reviews in 24 hours? Grease me up cuz I'm a machine.

bailar12
September 17th 2010



1766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if you insist....

Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tracks two-through-five are my favourite. I can't really single one out.

WhiteWallStargazers
September 17th 2010



2647 Comments


Wasn't a huge fan of the vocals on first listen. . guess I'll give it another try

Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They're a little irksome but they really work. My suggestion is just focus on the lyrics, somehow that made me really like them.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think the 'dear Science' and 'oh my Science' parts are really clever. I didn't pick up on it at first.

Emim
September 17th 2010



26205 Comments


What a twist!


Will check this out.

Gyromania
September 17th 2010



14653 Comments


Your avatar is really cute, Tyler

Ire
September 17th 2010



41472 Comments


this is pree kewr

cfbassist
September 17th 2010



325 Comments


this reminds me of that spongebob episode where patrick writes a song and they force the entire town to listen to it

yet somehow,

i keep listening

nicholasarthur
September 17th 2010



87 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

great review and although I disagree with the notion of fear before being an irrelevant post hardcore band I could understand why someone would say that considering their last album was hit or miss for a lot of people.

MyDearWormwood
September 17th 2010



225 Comments


Haha, leaked sooo long ago. "Something Beautiful" is amazing, can't believe it wasn't mentioned in the review.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't feel like mentioning each song because I'd rather talk about it as a whole than summarize everything that happens. Ideally I wouldn't really mention specific songs at all but I'm not a good enough writer to do that.

bailar12
September 17th 2010



1766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

enrique approves of the review senor cocaina. i hope thats all that matters.

bailamos.

NeutralThunder12
September 17th 2010



8742 Comments


being the biggest BTBAM fanboy on the site means I should've listened to this already......fantastic review per usual Munro.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know this review is late but don't think it's because I just got it. John Hanson and I have been procrastinating on this for months, since it was released digitally.

IRAI
September 17th 2010



1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ive had this for almost a year.


i thought it was out already.

IRAI
September 17th 2010



1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i cared about it then, and i care a lot about it now.

Fear B4 + BTBAM = love

Tyler
Emeritus
September 17th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was put out digitally way before the real deal came put a few weeks/months back

IRAI
September 17th 2010



1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i've fallen asleep next to science many a night



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