Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Orianthi surprises on her long awaited new solo album
Orianthi's first solo album in seven years feels as though it's a nexus between musical worlds: There are flavours of her early work which was driven by southern rock and blues influences. Over the years she's worked with country megastar Carrie Underwood, rock legend Alice Cooper, jammed with Santana and Stevie Vai and collaborated with Richie Sambora and of course, she was lined up to be the lead guitarist on Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' tour. As a result of these genre-hopping career, 'O' is a universe which somehow manages for all these strands of Orianthi's to co-exist.
It may feel incongruent with her rock Goddess image at times, especially on the poppier numbers, which may sit uneasily with hardened rock fans. However, but if you push that aside and embrace the radio-friendly elements on offer, 'O' is a solid album that demonstrates Oranthi's writing talent above everything else. There are tracks here that could be re-recorded by The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm, Carrie Underwood and yes, even Kylie.
Orianthi's vocals are similarly adaptable. Her rock belt is released on the raw punk styles of 'Contagious' and 'Rescue Me,' which are at the heavier end of the spectrum. As the album progresses the amplifiers and scuzzy guitars are segued with more poppy beats and programming. Granted, from the heavy nature of track one, you probably didn't expect it, but the emotional country-pop ballad, 'Crawling out of the Dark', is an album highlight and one that's worth four minutes of your time. 'Moonwalker' - presumably an ode to the King of Pop - is an understated, yet fitting end to the album with more surprises than a Hitchcock movie.
This may not be the album you were hoping for or expected after a long wait, but 'O' continues to show Oranthi's versatility as an artist and writer. It also teaches us not to judge an album by its cover.