Moonface

Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped

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    8
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With keyboard and drum machine-led swirls, higher-pitched and echoed vocals, and an embrace for what could be called art-pop-not-rock, Moonface's Organ Music is very much in the right place for 2011 at the least, something that kicks against surroundings while still being part of a non-unified grouping of artists increasingly interested in just that approach. Wolf Parade veteran Spencer Krug's singing has a gently mannered feeling that could almost be from 1986 on some obscure indie label, but the music, however equally derived from a cryptic and fragmented past, matches it in being something that feels of a new moment, a recombination that seeks its own logic. The theme of ocean dwelling and exploration runs through the first two titles and there's a feeling of watery quaver at work sonically too, something that the vocal treatments don't hurt; listening to his wordless calls on, appropriately enough, "Whale Song" (only in breaks rather than the full run) is appropriately entrancing. Hearing the vocals layer further as the keyboards turn just a little more strident and intense makes it all the more entrancing, a beautiful bit of intense melodrama that never fully lets go even as driving beats appear to underscore the conclusion. "Fast Peter'"s simpler but enjoyable bubble and flow is a nice respite in contrast, not something light and sweet per se but something that settles in the listener; its beat-light second half still has a calm rhythmic feeling carrying it forward, allowing for a little bit of distanced and smile-raising soloing. Meanwhile, "Smoking cigarettes like it's 2003!" makes for a great line from a song with a great if rude title, "Shit-Hawk in the Snow," pumping the full home-organ psychedelic zone to the full.

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