In 2009, The Angry Orts released their debut, The Purple Rhino Squad Versus The Blue Whale Super Heavy Assault Troops – a full-length album of raucous dance punk and indie rock. The Angry Orts (Sara Hernandez, James Puryear, Matt Hernandez and Aaron Ettlin) combined blues-based guitar riffs and hooky basslines in an effort to inspire movement on the dance floor. The palette of songs ranged across pop genres with Sara Hernandez’s perfect wailing alternating between lovelorn and vitriolic. Sleater-Kinney and Visqueen were the nearest touchstones, geographically as well as stylistically. The year ended with a tour and a trip home to finish writing the follow-up.
A little over one year later, The Angry Orts return with their second album. The new record rides the edge of expectations to great ends. Picking up right where the previous album left off, the self-titled album unfolds after a few listens. A notable gap exists in mood between the heights of “The Best Thing” and the clamor of “Bear Your Cross”. The Angry Orts sound reined in and scaled back, hesitant to burst out into fiery angst. They reward listeners with atmosphere.
If The Purple Rhino Squad Versus The Blue Whale Super Heavy Assault Troops captures the energy of the live performance, this album exercises the restraint of a studio performance. “You Bet” sneaks in reverb and distortion between waves of bass grooves. Raw attitude yields, dialing down the tempo in order for The Angry Orts to build up emotion. What comes out on record sounds like The Angry Orts headed towards a hand-picked bouquet of garage rock and pop sensibility. For as much as their first record defined itself in stances against pretense and against technical wankery, this album manifests a center based on catchy, immediate pop songs, and it holds.