Grab That Gun

  • The Organ
  • Too Pure
  • 2006-04-03

I’m not going to bring puerile innuendo into this. This will be a sober and even handed critique. The Organ’s members (sorry) are from British Columbia and follow the likes of Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene in coming to these shores from our Commonwealth cousins clutching good albums and sheaves of critical acclaim in their sweaty palms. The Organ also come with the same indie ethos and despite different musical templates they could breakthrough into similar territories of critical and commercial acclaim.

The band was formed from the ashes of singer Katie Sketch and organist Jenny Smyth’s previous band in 2001, and having found, after auditions, an all-female complement they recorded their debut EP for $100. This Sinking Hearts EP was finally released in England last year on the small, prescient Bristol label Sink and Stove. Grab That Gun contains four of those EP tracks plus six new ones and clocks in at just over half an hour, but though short is not unsubstantial.

A commonly expressed likeness to their sound is of Blondie crossed with The Smiths. This is a good (if simplistic) starting point for their sound, particularly Katie Sketch’s voice and lyrics, but I won’t over spank that particular monkey — it’s hardly fair to compare a debut to the two best bands of a whole decade.

The sort of perfect melancholic indie pop that Ian Curtis perfected with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

But everyone has got to start somewhere and Grab That Gun begins, and ends, with a bang. “Brother” kicks off proceedings with an addictive bassline that Peter Hook would be proud off, and develops into the sort of perfect melancholic indie pop that Ian Curtis perfected with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Closer “Memorize The City” pulls the same trick with The Cure with an equally good chorus. Elsewhere “A Sudden Death” recalls the anthemic indie of Modern English and “I Am Not Surprised” sounds like Electrelane (but without their yelping strangeness, unfortunately).

This is a ‘samey’ set in essence as most of the songs have a similar tempo and dynamic, but that doesn’t seem to matter because of the strength of the tunes. For ‘samey’ read consistently good. The lyrical paths of love lost, longing and redemption that are on display here are well worn, but they are covered simply and poetically throughout (“Oh, darkness filled the sky as pools of water fill your eyes, they sparkled like phosphorescence in the bay”) and never sound like self pity or angst-for-angst sake.

This is not a long record and a third of the tracks were on their previous release, but the same was the case with the Strokes debut, Is This It, and they didn’t do too badly. Whether The Organ can have similar success is perhaps unlikely in that very few bands with promise make it to that sort of level, but they seem to have the same gang mentality, interesting focus on a certain style (in this case early 80’s new wave and indie) and pop nous to have a decent go.

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