Orbis Max – Orbis Max (2023)

Orbis Max is Dw Dunphy (Vocals), Don Baake (Guitars), Bruce Walker (Keyboards), Craig Carlstrom (Bass, Slide Guitar), and Dick Winters (Drums).

The album also features Vinnie Zummo on “No Hero,” Lisa Mychols & Ed Ryan on “R U O K,” Dennis George, Tim Izzard, Dan Pavelich & Nigel Winfield on “Selling The Van,” and Johnny Viau on “Days Back.”

The album will be available on Oct 1, 2023 in CD and download formats on BandCamp, and will also be availabe on major streaming platforms.

Orbis Max follows their 2022 Digital-Only release This Just In, with a new album, Orbis Max, which is also available in CD format. The album contains the most recent singles released by the band (Whatever You Think It Is, R U O K, No Hero, The North, Selling The Van, Make You Feel Better, and Anyone’s Yesterday), as well as additional tracks.

This is the band’s first album since Dw Dunphy joined as their full-time lead vocalist. This follows a successful period of guest lead vocalists on their previous singles (collected on This Just In). The addition of Dw Dunphy has generated a new creative energy in the band, with “R U O K” becoming a favorite of all involved. The band still enlists the services of guest guitarists such as Ed Ryan and Emperor Penguin’s Nigel Patrick Winfield, while band member Don Baake’s playing on this album represents some of his most dynamic contributions to date.

The band, along with Lisa, Tim, Nigel and a special taped segment from Ed, recently appeared on my radio show There Once Was A Note. I recommend checking it out to get a fuller picture of their recent efforts.

The opening track, “Anyone’s Yesterday,” continues the band’s tradition of mixing rock, pop, soul, and R&B. This one is car radio music, with rich harmony vocals and tight guitar soloing from Don.

Vinnie Zummo, a veteran of Joe Jackson’s band, makes a guest appearance on guitar and slide guitar on “No Hero,” another solid, up-tempo, high energy R&B-flavored track.

“R U O K” was a triumphant single track for the band, a tale of former lovers who haven’t quite decided what shape their relationship will take in the future, but want to make sure they are each OK in the present. The centerpiece of the song is dual lead vocals from Dw and Lisa Mychols.

“The North” is an atmospheric ballad featuring the core band.

“If This Is Fun” is a tuneful mid-tempo track with tasty guitar fills and soloing from Don with subtle Beatlesque touches.

“Whatever You Think It Is” is a nice, harmony-filled, Eighties-flavored up-tempo track with an E Street rave-up feel and more great use of horns and a hot guitar solo from Don.

“Something About You” is a relaxed, melancholy mid-tempo song.

“I Think It Was Over” is a rich, sweeping ballad with more dynamic guitar work.

“Make You Feel Better” is another high-energy, up-tempo rave-up with nicely arranged harmony vocals, and was written for the band by Ed Ryan.

“Selling The Van” is the band’s most recent example of how well they blend their core band dynamic with multiple guest artists, still arriving at an end result that is uniquely Orbis Max.

Two Bonus Tracks follow…“Days Back,” which appeared on the Digital-Only This Just In, and “Belford,” another mid-tempo, soulful gem with perfectly arranged guitar soling in the lead-out.

The album is a clear triumph for a band that has gone through many changes in the last couple of years, especially in their use of guest artists who suit them to a “T,” arriving in a space where they are confident, relaxed, and engaging.