On a strictly compositional level, there's not much to "Something In You," the song that kicks off The Orange Peels' third album, Circling The Sun. Allen Clapp's lyrics are sparse and dopey—it's a juvenile love poem, really—and his tune barely budges past a couple of seesaw chords. But booming drums, a snaky organ, and shimmering production convert the slight track into elegant spun sugar: pretty to regard, and a rush to consume. The same can be said of "California Blue," another starry-eyed love song with more flash than substance. It's a slice of pure West Coast pop, as full of sun-swept promise as a day at the beach. Even when The Orange Peels try to counterbalance the glowing mood, they come up with "Long Cold Summer," a rich broken-heart ballad that's about the happiest lament imaginable.
The Orange Peels have recorded for Minty Fresh and SpinArt and now reside on Parasol, which means they've more or less made a tour of all the American indie labels that specialize in power-pop and its frillier derivations. Like labelmates past and present, The Orange Peels court genre connoisseurs, who can stomach a tub of whipped cream on a small bowl of candied fruit. The short, sweet Circling The Sun closes with "How Green The Grass," a herky-jerky paean to the idea that Clapp and his followers can "stay like this forever," immersed in pleasurable nothingness. But Circling The Sun offers alternatives to idle decadence as well, like "Tonight Changes Everything," which drives headlong into the fog like a convertible rolling down the coast in the dead of night, packed with hopeful passengers.