Tuesday, May 02, 2006We have got to take cover, brother
Some maths for you: 18% of the bands I've seen this year are Canadian. When you consider that Canada makes up 0.004% of the world's population, this is a very impressive figure. The Organ were the latest canucks to reach Berlin on their European tour, but let it be known, the Organ do not fit so easily with what is developing into a Canadian aesthetic and sound. Firstly they are all girls, they all look like they can't be much older than twenty-two, and well, they sound like the Smiths in the absolute best way possible. I noticed immediately on arriving at the gig the sheer quantity of Smiths t-shirts - this is what happens when you don't read reviews before you see a band, but I like to be surprised. While Morrissey is still going strong, failing in many ways to make music as affecting as that which he made with the Smiths, charging 55Â for tickets and boycotting Canada, the Organ have built up a reputation as great tunesmiths, an enigmatic and powerful live band, and a believable alternative to His Royal Petaness, without any cynical advertising campaigns, any major label backing, and certainly not adhering to a marketable aesthetic.
One of the most refreshing points of their show was their absolute engagement with their music. There was very little interaction, with eachother or the audience, all band members seemed to be each in their own world, knowing exactly their purpose on stage, feeling every bit of the music. It was, in many ways, understated and calm - the music could really speak for itself. At one point somebody called out "Talk about yourself", to which singer, Katie, said "Talk about myself? No thanks". This reminded me of Interpol, one of my favourite bands in the world. When they play live they are, essentially, anti-performance. They have the lights shining brightly behind them making them mere silhouettes. Paul Banks willoccasionallyy mutter something from underneath his hat, but other than that, nothing needs to be said - part of the whole appeal is the openness to interpretation, the mystique. There is, indeed, something to be said for saying nothing.
And this is perhaps where Morrissey has gone wrong. He says too much because he thinks what he has to say is important, relevant and poignant because it once was. If the Organ's brilliant debut album Grab That Gun is anything to go by, then we can expect much more music that speaks to people and speaks for itself from them. Hop over to their MySpace to listen for yourself.