With The Orphins, one is always guaranteed rhythmic and chanty songs with imaginative lyrics.
The Orphins indulge in euphoric melodies, epic lyrics and popping beats while preserving the rough, authentic, and endearing sound they honed while playing Atlanta's DIY house show scene throughout the 2000s. This valuable tension persists in 2009 as they play in some of Atlanta's most respected indie venues.
After five years, The Orphins have released their second full-length album, Wish You Well. All of the qualities that made Drowning Cupid such a gem are immediately present after the bright and crashing start of "Heart Equation," Wish You Well's opening track.
In many ways Wish You Well is a thematic and aural conclusion to 2004's Drowning Cupid, but as a stand alone album it's both playful and polished. Long-time fans will find listening experience to be much like wearing an old smoking jacket: stylish, comfortable, familiar. First-timers will most likely question why they haven't been listening to The Orphins for ages.
Tracks like "Wish You Well" and "Lost in the Wild" demonstrate The Orphins' ability to create and exploit the tensions between their lyrics and their sound. The album is refreshingly evocative of their live experience. Guitarists and vocalists Thomas Barnwell and Daniel Upton trade riffs and find delicate harmonies, while bassist Jen Upton and drummer Max McDonough serve up effervescent rhythms. No matter which aspect you focus on, you are guaranteed to like something about Wish You Well.
Release number Seven of Ohmpark's Top Twenty Releases for Atlanta artists of 2009
"It's been a minute since the Orphins last checked-in. Wish You Well, the post-punk outfit's second full-length to materialize in their 10-year career isn't a significant shift in style, but it does bring a terse upgrade to the group's jangle and dirge-pop assaults. As opening numbers "(x2+y2-1)3 - x2y3=0" and "In the Dark" unfold, the old familiar chime moves in leaving a core accent that affects the entire album. Such a distinctive guitar sound was the driving part of the group when they released Drowning Cupid back in 2004. This time it's woven deeply into the fabric of "Sea Song" and "Elements." Both are full-bodied pinnacles of the group's monochromatic rhythms, that are less insular than before, but are still instantly recognizable, and instantly catchy. (Adair Park)" - Chad Radford / Creative Loafing
"The second full-length release from The Orphins. This band is the quartet consisting of Thomas Barnwell, Daniel Upton, Jen Upton, and Max McDonough. These folks write and record underground guitar-based pop/rock with a difference. The tunes on Wish You Well have a dense thick sound that is characterized by driving rhythms and complex guitar lines. What is interesting is the fact that...with so much going on musically...the vocals are rather straightforward and subdued. It's kinda like hearing a complex progressive band with vocals one would normally associate with pure popsters. We'd like to cite some possible references and/or soundalike bands. But the more we spin Wish You Well the less inclined we are to compare the music of The Orphins to other bands. A tiny bit similar to Guided By Voices perhaps...but not really...? Interesting heady tracks include "In The Dark," "Grazed," "Tundra," and "Wish You Well." Totally cool sounding stuff." - Baby Sue
"After what seems like an eternity, The Orphins have completed and released their second full-length CD, Wish You Well. Truthfully, I can't rightly tell it apart from the first one. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however! Aloof and arty, they are a band who've honed their own busy/minimalist sound to a level of instant identification, marked by sharp, icy angles and detached, impassive vocals. They manage to direct it all into a fluid, rumbling cascade, reminding me of that transitional mid '80s period when Wire began to sound like New Order. That's them to the left, shivering to the sound of their own music."
"The Orphins got around to releasing this second cd. Wish You Well sounds almost exactly like their first album, and yet I've been listening to it about ten times as often. Obviously there's some subliminal mojo going on there. Whatever the reasons, the album's grown on me tremendously and I'm really glad they're still chipping away at the chill." - Stomp & Stammer
"The Orphins much anticipated second full-release, Wish You Well features more of the interesting compositions and wry sense of humor that earned them some of the most loyal fans in Atlanta. Equally capable of epic songs as they are with quirky melodies, The Orphins' brand of melodically schizophrenic hooks and thunderous rhythms often erupt in a dance-punk blast off." - The Other Sound
"The Orphins were one of the very first bands to get me interested in Atlanta's music scene. They were really the first band where I thought, I would get into this act even if they weren't local. When I picked up their 2004 full-length release, Drowning Cupid, I listened to it non-stop for months. I had been anxiously awaiting a follow up for 5 years now, and just as I had begun to lose hope and start to believe that The Orphins may just have become a forgotten relic of the scene's past, they have reemerged with an outstanding new record. Where Drowning Cupid had an almost monochrome feel to it, Wish You Well sees the band becoming much more dynamic and varied in their approach. The sound is still unmistakably their own distinct brand, but there is a maturity present that greatly compliments what they do. All and all, it was well worth the wait. Wish You Well is also the first release on Atlanta's newest local label, Adair Park, which will also be putting out This Piano Plays Itself's next record." - Ohm Park