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CD REVIEW: Orphan Project - "Orphan Found"
By Gian F - 09/06/2003 - 12:25 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Orphan Project
Album: Orphan Found
CD Review: Genre: Rock
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 7
Overall Talent Level: 9
Songwriting Skills: 6
Performance Skill: 9
Best Songs: Full But Lonely, Discovering New Surroundings, Gazing Down On Golden Streets, Paupers Unfilled
Weakness: Hooks not well-defined/song titles tough to discern
CD Review: This is a sentimental project by Shane Lankford, who created the concept, wrote the lyrics, and provided the lead and some background vocals on the CD. He was a child of adoptive parents and found his way into his first family in 1971. The experience left him yearning and searching for his own identity. Guess how he found it? Through music of course!

The subject matter is heavy - perhaps too heavy for the average Rock music lover, but for those who are willing to listen, they are in store for a musical treat. Shane's distinguished and mature vocals are highlighted magnificently by the orchestral arrangements and masterful production of John Grant & John Wenger (who rightfully deserve any notoriety, attention, or business that this review will afford them. They are, in a word, awesome!). While their music creates an engaging and mellow-dramatic backdrop for Shane's lyrical explorations into loneliness, abandonment, desire to be accepted, and need for family, the ferocious guitar playing of Chris Maggitti brings it home to the heart and the essence of the Rock genre: rockin' guitars! His contributions on this project are clean, precise, and impassioned.

Despite Shane's commanding performance and the well arranged background vocals, many of the songs don't linger in your mind due to their curious lack of melody; which is odd considering the abyss of musical talent displayed throughout this project. The musical sophistication will appeal to the old school Rockers who grew up on Queen, Yes, Asia, and the like, but it may alienate them from today's 15 - 21 year olds who gravitate towards simple melodies and hooks that they can remember and sing-along to.

While on the subject of songs...the names of some of the songs are often hard to recognize (read: hard for consumers/fans to request on the radio or purchase at retail). For example, the one song which stuck in my head the most (and should be the first radio single) was "Full But Lonely," but it wasn't until I started writing this review (after listening to the CD 20 times) that I realized it was NOT called, "Never Satisfied," which would have been a more appropriate, and thus, better name. Not to be overlooked, I truly appreciated the subject matter (even though it may not be the most entertaining) in comparison to the gluttony of Rock CD's that I receive that are about raging lust over a sexy babe...or trying to get laid...or trying to get laid by a sexy get the point.

Advice: You have 4 songs that are commercially viable, but may be better suited for inclusion into film and television. I would also explore the possibility of contributing songs to a theatrical production. Perhaps you can write a play of your own to accommodate and promote the songs that you already have or may create in the future.

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