The nameless man and woman who form R&B duo Emotional Oranges are as mysterious as their group name. They’ve chosen the route of anonymity, covering their faces online with price look-up stickers and using models on album covers. The two revealed themselves at their first-ever Chicago concert at Metro (3730 N. Clark St.) Oct. 5 only to give a less-than-emotional performance.
The Los Angeles-based Emotional Oranges inundated Metro with heaps of smoke — if they have a fog machine, why not use it? Since there’s no Spotify or Apple Music screen to hide behind on stage, the fog hiding their baseball-and-sunglasses-covered faces added an extra layer of mystique to the duo.
With a name like “Emotional Oranges,” it might come as no surprise the duo amassed a cult following after one of their two debut singles “Motion” was made the official theme song of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in 2018, according to NME.
The night of their Metro performance, the two appeared on stage singing “Unless You’re Drowning,” a song off their debut album, “The Juice: Vol. 1.” As they danced more provocatively than audiences might have expected, he juxtaposed her leotard and knee-high, buckled stiletto boots with a black Balenciaga hoodie.
While their voices are almost angelic, evoking an assortment of feelings in their crowd, the duo’s interactions brought into question the “emotional” bit of “Emotional Oranges.” The two shimmied around each other and held eye contact, but when she whispered in his ear in conjunction with some lyrics, the action was more than forced, as if they rehearsed once too many times.
Having debuted their entire discography — an eight-piece album and a few singles — in 2019, the duo didn’t have a staggering list of songs to choose from for their hour-long set. Having played the majority of songs, they ran the clock by engaging the audience in male-versus-female a cappella battles and taught them song lyrics.
Emotional Oranges’ songs are ready for the picking, but their performances could use a few more days of ripening.
The duo’s second volume is slated for release at the end of 2019, and their music can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music.