The Organ

Grab That Gun

(Mint/604; 2004)

By Scott Reid | 18 May 2004

You can almost hear the hype machines turning violently for a record like this. "The Female Interpol!" "The Canadian Kristin Hersh Has Arrived, Fronting An All-Girl Smiths!" "Fuck That Band We Loved Last Week, They Fucking Suck Now; This Is the Real Band that Will Change Your Life!"

A five-piece all-girl rock band out of Vancouver (which has certainly already bred a series of great talents in the last decade), The Organ do indeed take strong hints of the Throwing Muses (most importantly Katie Sketch's sporadic vocal similarites to a younger Kristin Hersh by way of Morrissey, though with an odd Paul Bank-ish quality at times also) and, instrumentally, the same post-punk/new-wave influences that have given us the bands that have fueled the hype-machine for the past few years and left it hungry for more.

And, for all of the ridiculous lines it would catalyst, The Organ clearly deserve any publicity coming their way. Their debut full length, Grab That Gun, sounds like the work of a band capable, but not quite yet able, of pulling off an album good enough to shake Gun's wall of nostalgia. The elements are all there; an obvious passion for the music they make, an ability to make a ridiculously familiar style sound inspired, unlike many of their kind, and, above all else, the songwriting talent to pull it all together into a solid debut.

Pretty much every track, besides bearing an uncanny aural semblance, has at the very least a passable hook, but when they hit upon something great -- like "Steven Smith," "Sinking Hearts," "I Am Not Surprised" and "No One Has Ever Looked So Dead" (the last three of which were also on last year's Sinking Hearts EP, their debut release) -- they leave behind any doubt that Grab That Gun is yet another style-over-substance last minute bandwagon addition.

In fact, the only consistent complaint I have with Grab That Gun would be vocalist Katie Sketch's lyrics, which never really meander into absurd territory, but never really hit a stride, either. Most of the lyrics center around inconsequential rhyming or weak romanticism; "Although our lips barely touched/ I have never felt so much/ And I'd really like to feel that way again/ Oh, oh, when?" Sketch sings on album closer "Memorize This City," continuing in the album's dry imagery.

But Grab That Gun, featuring production assistence from New Pornographers and ex-Limblifter Kurt Dahle, isn't an album that puts much weight on its lyrics to begin with. It's a succinct blast of '80s British pop, a love of the early 4AD acts and, of course, new wave -- packed full with the instrument from which the group took their name -- and, frankly, it leaves a lot of room for fucking up. Any number of groups have unfortunately tried variations of this approach in years past, yet The Organ have pulled it off respectably with their debut full length, to the point where it becomes very clear by the end of the record's mere thirty minutes that this is a group that should develop into something a little more substantial.