Friday, August 12, 2011

Organ Music, Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped - Moonface

Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped

Jagjaguwar Records.

SCQ Rating: 68%

More than just a song-title, ‘Return To the Violence Of the Ocean Floor’ acts like an overwhelmed compass, peering beyond the obvious imagery of the words and into the spiky, occasionally seasick nature of Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped. The song’s seven-minutes – a length of time apparently customary for Moonface – sprawl outward in organ-blips, cut-up and looped ad nauseum, to create a plateau vista that impresses due to the sheer enormity of it. This too proves part of Spencer Krug’s routine as Organ Music… swells into a pop-art consortium where every strain of organ competes for the role of dominant hook.

What’s unsurprising about this utmost particular side-project is that Krug steals that focus outright, his instantly recognizable delivery taking responsibility for the record’s several imperative peaks. His vocals organize and direct what would otherwise be a messy, often unlistenable concoction of grating layers – and therein lies the potential genius of Moonface. Too bad more of that potential isn’t realized. As its title makes clear, these five songs are founded and assembled via organs and Krug’s convincing moments, where he threatens to turn the whole experiment into a loveable dance-party, makes Organ Music… a somewhat painful near-miss. Whether the actual songwriting quality drops after the carnival-on-speed loops of single ‘Fast Peter’ or Moonface’s limited palette finally catches up, Organ Music…’s final couplet repeatedly witnesses a sudden drop in my attention span. Upon further inspection, the tense standstill of organs on ‘Shit-hawk In the Snow’ feel exhausted from the get-go, as though the track’s compositionally starving for a less abrasive instrument (maybe a vibraphone?). ‘Loose Heart = Loose Plan’ fares slightly better but never provides a payoff for the twenty-odd minutes of strain on listeners.

Despite having no affiliation to prior Krug outlets, Wolf Parade or otherwise, I truly wanted great things out of Moonface. And in modest quantities, Organ Music… delivers. Similar to its cover-art’s nonchalant party, I don’t think it would take too many brews to envision this project as an ideal trip to play out in the background of some open-minded social event. But party DJs beware: unlike Krug, know when to quit and try something else.

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