Do a quick Google search of Nothing Rhymes With Orange and you’ll inevitably find more than a few hits comparing the tenacious South Florida indie rock band to a slew of other artists: Echo and the Bunnymen, REM, early U2, The Police. And while the band, a recent ‘Cane Records signee, cites these artists as influences, the guys of Nothing Rhymes With Orange are anything but mere imitators.
A quartet composed of lead singer Carl Almasy, guitarist Rich Coccaro, bassist Travis Rosen and drummer Zack Eldridge, NRWO has haunted the local music scene for years, three in this particular line up. Last September, their surprisingly catchy, cerebral sound hooked the attention of ‘Cane Records, the UM student-run label.
“We were playing the Culture Room, and I guess they did their research on us because we’ve been around for a while,” Almasy, 28, explained. “We started talking to ‘the Emilies’ [President Emilie Kennedy and Chief Financial Officer Emily Rebert], became friends, and a month later we said, ‘OK, let’s work together.'”
Now, only weeks away from the drop date of their fourth album Hello Mysterious, their first with ‘Cane Records, the band is busily touring across South Florida, with a couple stops in New York.
“It’s a very exciting time for us,” Eldridge shared.
“It shows all of us at the best we’ve ever performed on record,” Almasy chimed. “We’re a live act, but we pulled it off this time in the studio. These are our greatest songs to date.”
Currently on 54 college radio stations, NRWO seeks to appeal to this demographic, a goal they hope to achieve through ‘Cane Records. While the label hardly carries the status of the big-name artists with whom they’ve played, such as John Mayer and Red Hot Chili Peppers, signing with ‘Cane Records has imbued the band with an air of content light-heartedness.
“It’s more intimate. We have a real relationship with the people who run it. We’re actually friends with them. There’s nothing political, it’s easy. We can teach each other about the business,” Almasy said.
With their offbeat, jokester personalities, NRWO carries natural appeal to the college-age set. They speak with the friendly sort of humility found in hometown rockers, with none of the annoying, too-big-for-their-britches bravado. When giving their advice for aspiring rock stars, the group initially joked with a hint of veracity, shouting, “Don’t do it!” before bassist Rosen answered, “Be the first something, not the next something. Set goals, and be realistic.”
But in a word, frontman Almasy is a dreamer. To counter, Coccaro, Rosen and Eldridge don’t simply stand aside their lead singer’s eternal fount of idealism; they, especially Coccaro, temper him with pragmatism.
“They are like yin and yang, both lost within their own ideas,” bassist Rosen notes of the two, who are brothers.
Despite their personality differences, one of NRWO’s strengths lies in their chemistry. When asked about the peak of his career, Almasy answers, “Getting on the same page with four guys for the first time in years, in terms of attitudes and songs.”
While NRWO calls South Florida home, one look and a listen prove that the Sunshine State does not confine this band’s reach. On their website, the different pages use maps of metro systems from various cities, from the London Underground to the New York Subway. Almasy attributes the maps as a nod to the band’s past travels. “They mirror our sound. It makes sense to connect these cities.”
But rather than being an indicator of the band’s past, perhaps these maps point toward the future: Nothing Rhymes With Orange just might be going somewhere.
Nothing Rhymes With Orange’s tour of South Florida will resume on Feb. 19 at Murphy’s Law at the Seminole Hard Rock Complex at 8:30 p.m. For other information check out www.nrwo.net.
Hannah Bae can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.