News, Reviews

Mild Orange Announces New LP, Shares Two New Tracks, and Announce Tour Dates

December 14, 2021

Mild Orange Announces New LP, Shares Two New Tracks, and Announce Tour Dates

New Zealand-based internet cult phenoms Mild Orange announces its third album, Looking For Space, due February 11th. The band, who have racked up over 100 million streams across all platforms, has shared two new singles “What’s Your Fire?” and “Hollywood Dreams.”

The band will be touring the world in 2022, hitting North America in February (see full dates below). Looking For Space is the band’s most ambitious project yet, recorded in six beautiful locations across Aotearoa New Zealand over a year, and it’s also Mild Orange’s first time entering a proper studio which was a necessary part in making this record sound as intended. It’s a sonic journey about navigating life, always finding room to grow, considering outlooks and maintaining belief in oneself as we choose our paths. True to MO, it doesn’t sit on one sound and will take you up and down, while feeling like a natural progression – shown on their latest two singles. Looking For Space will feature video collaborations from NZ to Japan, Indonesia to LA, France and beyond. Despite many hurdles, Mild Orange persisted to connect with the world on this project during this period of global lockdowns and border closures. That’s what Mild Orange have always tried to do – from NZ, for the world.

The just released album cover (see below) by frontman Josh Mehrtens was taken in Switzerland after a Mild Orange headline show at Baden in 2019, and has been tinkered with in tandem with the album so that both feel as each other look and sound. There’s a calmness yet passiona te energy felt coming from the electric glow that flows. Some thoughts from the band on the two new singles:

“We recognize that everybody’s ‘fire’ is going to be different, so we would like to leave this song up to personal interpretation, whether that ‘fire’ be political, societal or one’s personal motivations. For me, ‘What’s Your Fire?’ came from a time in my life where I was trying to figure out who I am, or who the person I want to be is. It asks some intense questions, though hopefully helps oneself find light in the idea that there is always something that you can do to improve yourself or the world around you – no matter how big or small. It’s when we ask ourselves these questions that we consider a potential answer. We have been playing it as an encore at our concerts and festivals in NZ for over a year now, and since then, it has been a highlight of our live sets with it always being the main takeaway from the set when we talk to fans after the show.

‘Hollywood Dreams’ was written while feeling crushed by the disappointment of not being able to play music and tour internationally during mid-2020, with no end in sight as to when we could resume chasing our dream to play music around the world and embark on adventures. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel though, and things don’t have to happen instantly. It actually ended up being a really productive period for the band, since it forced us to cancel tour plans, and to instead hunker down and record a third album. It’s made us more ready than ever to head out into the world again.” – Mehrt

After spending two albums carefully organising the framed photos and applying an even layer of paint, Mild Orange felt the urge to tear apart the four walls that defined their bedroom pop sound, capturing the wilderness that lay beyond. And rather than be deterred from that goal by a pandemic and lockdown that left the New Zealanders stuck on their island, Mild Orange used that time to envision a new world. “Colourise”, the first track off the quartet’s fittingly titled third album, Looking For Space (due February 11th 2022 via AWAL), feels like the gate to the land of Oz, a portal behind which hypercolour and fantasy unfolds. “Trust the waves and where you’ll go/ ‘Cause you never know what it may hold,” Josh Mehrtens sings, a snare march, lithe electric guitar, and washes of echo trailing behind. Together, frontman/producer Mehrtens, lead guitarist Josh Reid, bassist Tom Kelk, and drummer Jack Ferguson aren’t just looking for space, they’re carving out grand landscapes all their own.

With the new tracks, Mild Orange deliver this intoxicating and bountiful landscape filled with an array of affection, pulling emotionally from the vocal notes and the delivery to the upbeat tonality and contrast. The intensity and shimmering effects found in “What’s Your Fire?”, offering this complexity from the tones to the building journey to the euphoric harmonies. Truly compelling, a journey that we can all embark on and appreciate. “Hollywood Dreams” is a calmer ensemble, focusing on the softer melodic movement and gentle passages. Delivering this intimate almost fragile lyrical journey.

That collaborative vigour and childlike imagination should come as no surprise for a band in which two of the members didn’t even realise they’d once been childhood friends. Halfway through recording Mild Orange’s debut album, Reid told his mum about how he’d been working on a new project with a guy named Josh Mehrtens. Her response: dusting off some old photo albums. “We had been best friends at ages three or four years old, but then we both moved to different towns,” Reid explains. “My mum had these photos of us playing together when we were kids, and we had no idea that we even knew each other.”

Midway through recording the album, Mehrtens came down with pneumonia and pleurisy, a single breath capable of leaving him in excruciating pain. The experience not only changed the perspective of the rest of the record, but of Mehrtens’ life. “That put me into some pretty dark spaces,” he says. “But I’m an optimist, so I was searching for the beauty in the dark.” That buoyant spirit shines in lead single “This Kinda Day”, the first song Mehrtens wrote while recovering. “But for now this moment too will all make sense someday,” he vows. The song arriving at a tender moment looking out at the beachfront. “A storm was battering the coastline of Oākura and I realised that the turbulence eventually passes and is a requisite part in growing, shaping and maintaining the balance on the beautiful beach – like us”.

After building a catalog based on understanding the intimacies of the human heart, Looking For Space honours and extols the far reaches that the resulting emotions are capable of. Fittingly, Mild Orange spent chunks of last year surveying and recording in far-flung parts of New Zealand, embracing isolation as a route to deeper connection. “Out there, on the beach, with a paddock of five horses just out the window, we could make as much noise as we liked,” Reid says. By honouring those spaces and crafting their own, Mild Orange have not only struck outon their search for meaning, but simultaneously found meaning where they were all along.

Mild Orange
Looking For Space

Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022

Track List:

The Time of Our Lives
This Kinda Day
Oh Yeah
What’s Your Fire? (extended mix)
Take A Moment (interlude)
Hollywood Dreams


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