The founding members of Philadelphia’s Officer Roseland have been making music together, in one form or another, for over a decade. Emerging from jokey jam sessions between longtime friends Dan Daidone (bass/vocals) and Brian Jones (keyboards/guitar), the band’s earliest incarnation delivered an unusual mixture of thrashing hardcore, electronic minimalism, and bouncing Beatlesque pop, with varying degrees of success. Never ones to shy away from experimentation, OR brought this schizoid aesthetic to their 2002 self-titled debut, attempting to juxtapose as many musical genres into one album—and often into each individual song—as humanly possible. For those unused to such deliberate eclecticism, the results could be disorienting, but devoted audiophiles could find plenty to enjoy in the band’s freewheeling kitchen-sink approach.
Recruiting drummer John Ilisco from the trenches of the Philly punk scene, Roseland began to bulk up its live sound with a series of wildly energetic performances in small venues throughout the city and national music conferences up and down the East Coast. Finding a niche among college audiences and lovers of all things offbeat, OR continued to refine its style with their next two albums, channeling the explosiveness of their live show into a leaner, edgier, and more aggressive sound on 2004’s Sunglasses and 2007’s Blast-Off for Kicksville. That sound would garner international attention for the band, leading to a high-profile showcase on UK satellite radio, and the inclusion on the soundtrack of a number of independent films.
With three LPs under their belt, OR changed tactics yet again during the recording of Stimulus Package, their most ambitious effort to date. The addition of veteran bassist/guitarist Rob DiJoseph during these sessions helped consolidate the band’s sound into a more cohesive whole. The new material still showcases a vast range of styles, but it wears its influences less overtly, synthesizing decades of musical history into something entirely unique, as well as marking a notable stride forward in terms of lyrical content. Stimulus Package is a concept album with a distinctly satirical edge, skewering the crass commercialism of the recording industry—and of American society at large—with the warped sense of humor that has become the band’s signature.