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Albums Of The Week: Alex Orange Drink | Everything Is Broken Maybe That’s O.K.

Westerberg fans will love The So So Glos leader's ramshackle beauty & mordant wit.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On his sophomore album Everything Is Broken Maybe That’s O.K., Brooklyn singer-songwriter Alex Orange Drink — the solo moniker for Alex Zarou Levine of The So So Glos — explores personal subjects, including a rare and life-threatening disorder, heartbreak, drugs, angst, and broken political systems. Half of the album was recorded before the pandemic in a party-like atmosphere — with basic tracking captured live among friends, family and lovers — while the other half was completed by a heartbroken protagonist reflecting in isolation.

Levine has been writing music and lyrics since youth in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Most notably with his brothers in DIY punk outfit The So So Glos. There’s dark subtext to his lyrics, which are often laced into bright, hooky outsider anthems. During a period in which his band went on hiatus and local venue (and home base) Shea Stadium shuttered, Alex Orange Drink was born. The new solo project took its name “orange drink” as a nod to the medication Alex depends on to treat the rare metabolic disease Homocystinuria. As with his work in The So So Glos, by flipping a slang term from the ordinary to a new identity, Alex once again exhibited a gift for spinning a negative force into something positive.

There is something eerily medical about this collection of songs — two contrasting songs about grappling with his condition (Homocystinuria Pt. 1 & Pt. 2), three songs about chemical addictions triggered by love (Oxytocin, It’s Only Drugz, I L.U.V. I.O.U.), plenty of references to the intersection of technology and mental health (Clickbait, Click Me), and a closing track that implies that a cure may be found in a return to the natural world (The Sun Is Only Shining). Lyrically, Alex delves even further into brave personal territory, continuing to explore his own individual crises and life story in a world that’s even more disjointed and damaged than before. A permanent state of teenage angst manifests itself through even more hushed tones and sugar-coated sweetness than his debut, resulting in a more complex, vivid soundscape.

Collaborating again with producer Adam Reich (who was behind the board for an impressive list of classics from Brooklyn’s DIY scene), dark subject matter is transformed into positive energy, enriching the music more than any of Alex’s previous recordings. If the most cohesive and fulfilling music of Alex’s career is the outcome of everything being broken, then maybe that’s O.K.”