Personally, it’s really hard for me to dislike this type of music. Most people fall into one of two categories when confronted with it; they either despise it or secretly relish every morose moment. I happen to fall into the later category. This is music that I hate to love.
More than a little reminiscent of The Smiths, The Organ’s melancholic jangle pop is like a cute, little puppy faced child; any sort of anger about its irresponsibility just melts away. Had this child stolen a toy, after seeing such a face anyone with half a heart would most certainly let them get away with it. Likewise, The Organ have pilfered from The Smiths, but, well, it’s not like they meant any harm (insert puppy face). The most obvious connections are between Katie Sketch’s uncanny feminine take on Morrissey’s vocal delivery and Debora Cohen’s excellent Marr impersonation. Rather than being a cheap copy though, The Organ pull it off sounding more like a tasteful homage. I’ve also heard people refer to them as the all-female Interpol, and let me be clear about this point: they are not...at all. More accurately, The Organ should be lumped into the nostalgic romantics category with bands like the slightly more creative My Favourite.
Now, before I get to the nitty-gritty of Grab That Gun, let’s do a quick history lesson. The Organ formed in 2001 and released the Sinking Hearts EP in 2002. Ok, I think that’s it. Now that their debut full length is out, it’s clear these girls aren’t going to aspire to any Radiohead type shifts in sound. Grab That Gun sounds a heck of a lot like Sinking Hearts, and, to borrow the title of one of their songs, I am not surprised; four of the albums eleven tracks were on the EP. Luckily these were already good songs, otherwise, having to pay full album price for a scant six extra songs would be ludicrous.
“I Am Not Surprised” and “No One Has Ever Looked So Dead” are the best two songs from the EP that make it onto this album, but it’s in a few of the newest additions that The Organ really shine. “Brother” is a satisfactory opener and “Steven Smith” is a little too simple, even for this type of music. Things begin to pick up towards the ending of “Love Love Love,” but after that comes one of the two best new additions to the groups song bank. “Basement Band Song” is a succinct, slightly bouncy number that shines amongst the groups even more melancholic fare. However, there is one song in particular on this album that indicates just the type of strength and songwriting prowess The Organ have over the dour pop form.
“A Sudden Death” is one of my favorite songs right now. It’s odd that amongst all these songs which jump between Smiths tribute and Organ trying to find their own voice, a song like this pops up. It represents everything I love about this type of music. Such a sad, sad melody, slightly danceable, and never appearing for a second to be self indulgent, “A Sudden Death” is the perfect blend of The Organ’s influences while sounding fresh and vital through the voice of this new band. On the whole, the album is totally enjoyable when in the right mindset, but if The Organ can develop on the promise that they’ve shown here, then their next should be a gem. Somehow, I’m not too worried.
- Andrew Iliadis
/dec 15th 2004/