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Wild Sweet Orange: Pulp-free pop

Wild Sweet Orange, a melodic rock foursome from Birmingham, Ala., drew rave reviews and attention from radio and bloggers and appeared on “ Late Night with David Letterman” before ever releasing a full-length album.

But the road wasn't short. Singer/chief songwriter Preston Lovinggood says the album, which only took three weeks to record, has been in the works for four years.

The band signed with Canvasback Music, under the Columbia Records umbrella and home to Swell Season's Oscar-winning “ Once” soundtrack, in 2007.

Luckily, its long gestating album, “ We Have Cause to Be Uneasy,” backs up the early buzz with detailed imagery and whimsical storytelling about small-town life. Here's what Lovinggood says about the release and the reception:

How's it feel to finally have the record out? Like you wouldn't believe. We've been playing music together since sixth grade. We feel like we're touring for something now even if it's only playing for 25 or 50 kids.

Have you gotten a lot of support from home? It's been kind of ridiculous. Our town has been really supportive, which is good since the record's about our hometown.

Do the people you wrote about know that these songs are about them? A lot of them were written about people I really care about and about a time in my life that was spent with these people every day. They know. Some of the things are vague or kind of violent and those people don't about know it.

Seeing as it represents a time and place for you, I can see how it could come to do the same for a listener that was relating these stories to their own life. Are there certain records that take you back to a certain time? “There's a certain Modest Mouse or Emmylou Harris record that when I put it on I smell that summer I first bought it. Or smell that winter I bought David Gray's “White Ladder” when I was in 10th grade.

Since the album has been completed for so long I imagine you have acquired quite a catalog of material. “We have. We're going to start recording after every break. I'm also excited about writing. It's become more of a band. At the beginning I would write songs by myself in my room and have everything planned out and tell them what I wanted. So it's exciting to feel like a band.

Do you like this set-up better? It's really good to write a good song and give it to these great musicians. Having people that can make your dreams come true. Honestly too, I don't want to lose that vulnerability of writing a simple folk song. (The next album) will be a mixture of both.