The Orwells are a big, ugly mess. We saw this bunch of baby-faced ne'er-do-wells fumble their way through a performance on "Later ...with Jools Holland" last night and were nonplussed as lead singer Mario Cuomo awkwardly humped a monitor and ended a song by kicking out a studio light. Jools was not impressed. From most angles, they're just like any other band of drunken teenagers sloppily hacking away at their instruments. At certain moments, though, and almost despite themselves, there's a crusty, grungy, desperate transcendence to them.
Formed by a pair of cousins and a pair of brothers in only 2009, The Orwells channel the brash energy of early Kings of Leon (think "Four Kicks" era, just slightly less hillbilly) with all the blustery swagger of The Strokes if they railed whey protein powder every morning. Mario Cuomo has a guttural quality to his voice -- half-bark, half-croon, and sounds eerily like Jim Morrison on uppers. Although he lays on the indifferent frontman wankery a 'lil thick, we'll give credit where it is due. This is a band to watch.
The most telling indication that they're a band to keep an eye on is that their releases get better and better. "Mallrats (La La La)," the track that announced them to the hipster public, is not very good at all. Their brand new single "Dirty Sheets," though, is the kind of stompy, garage rock anthem that you can play on repeat all day.
Check out the saucy video to "Dirty Sheets." It is almost NSFW. You can check out The Orwells opening for The Arctic Monkeys US Tour in early 2014