steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Organ

"Thieves" EP

Mint Records

Genre: indie rock, post-punk

Vancouver, Canada

Oct 30, 2008

Lean, beaty, focused and bouncy, the Thieves EP is a wonderful posthumous addition to the sporadic but exemplary discography of The Organ. It finds them still operating their creative change on the tired post-punk-revival formula: Katie Sketch running the gamut from regret to mild annoyance to hope and back again through lilting melodies delivered earnestly in her ultra-formal choirgirl voice, backed by sparse, elegant guitar tracks and a considerable helping of (...) organ. They're like a '60s girl group that got a bit depressed one day and responded by getting really into (groupthink comparison oh yeah!) Joy Division, and then resolved to tackle all their problems head-on through song. Less groupthink comparison? Tune out the lyrics and they sound a bit like Cadallaca - girl band, sounds mostly upbeat, has organ, check check check - with slightly less urgency from the lead vocals. I'd hate to insult Sketch by name-checking any specific post-punk-revivalist vocalists (Paul Banks?) to make the comparison more precise, because most of them are insufferable narcissists and that would be mean, not to mention inaccurate. So I won't.

According to the band's mythology, they all started out on instruments they'd never played before. But it's plainly obvious that they're possessed by the rock'n'roll spirit or an airtight sense of music theory or something, because they're incredibly adept at sounding exactly how they mean. Like in "Fire in the Ocean," whose frequent bursts of bitterness directed at people who should love us oh like the ocean does are punctuated by relatively thunderous drums and rough chord changes. Or the most epic track on the EP, "Let the Bells Ring," which starts out sighing, "That's the way that it is/I lie under a bell-shaped curve for being average," but ends up about as triumphant as a post-punk-revival Vengeful Breakup song can, wavering between longing and righteous mild annoyance with the assistance of some sneaky counterpoint. And so on. Thieves blows by in 18 minutes and, after five punchy songs, vanishes in a cloud of wistful acoustic folkieness that conceals a mission-accomplished statement: "Oh what a strange and miraculous thing/To finally recognize what is driving me crazy." We should all be so lucky. Way to go team!

the organ's myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: fire in the ocean

Rhett Alexander

[Vitals: 6 tracks, distributed by the label, released Oct 14, 2008]