Monday, May 10, 2010

Album Review: Mandolin Orange - Quiet Little Room

There is a new sort of orange blossom in North Carolina, but it's not in plant form. It's local duo Mandolin Orange, who positively bloom with their debut full-length Quiet Little Room.

The acoustic, semi-folk sounds that flow from their newest record are soft, delicate, and beautiful, not unlike the lovely orange blossom. After meeting last year, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin got together as Mandolin Orange to create a seven song, self-titled EP. It was good, but Quiet Little Room shows how brightly Mandolin Orange can shine.

Frantz and Marlin share vocal duties and just about everything else on the record, having recorded and produced Quiet Little Room in its entirety themselves. "Modern Man" will definitely pique your interest with its relaxed, swinging tempo and Marlin's ruminations on a Boo Radley-esque figure who can't bring himself to face reality.

Quiet Little Room is an example of a truly fantastic first album. There isn't a single song that falls below the level of pretty damn good. Marlin is an excellent writer, and both he and Frantz are multi-talented instrumentalists, switching around on fiddle, guitar, drums and, of course, mandolin. Together they are a lean, mean, music-making machine that cranks out great songs. It's difficult to comment on which are the best, simply because they're all interesting in their own way.

Mandolin Orange currently have no Triangle dates in the immediate future, but they do have a busy summer tour schedule that will lead them all over the state and will make a stop in Carrboro on June 27 to play the Pabst Blue Ribbon Festival at Cat's Cradle and the Festival for the Eno in Durham on July 3. Quiet Little Room is available for purchase at their shows or through

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