The Fog Band / The Organ – Artrocker at The Buffalo Bar, 5th April 2005
Hurrah! It’s The
Fog Band in all their dapper tappy-toed glory. In deference to the fact that
they’re playing the mighty Artrocker night, they come over all contrary
and choose to stick to their more subdued numbers. This is kind of a shame,
‘cos The Fog Band are fab, but tonight they’re not as fab as they
can be, which is to say they’re still fabber than Fabrizio Moretti eating
a Fab ice-lolly and reading an issue of ‘Fab 208’ whilst wrapped
you’d never guess it if you lived solely on a diet of mainstream music
press, there’s a heaping helping of tip top rockin’ females out
there at the moment. All the best current bands have strong lady elements –
The Schla La Las, The Pipettes, The A-Lines, The Long Blondes, The Violets.
And now here are The Organ who are everything those dumb boys in bands cranking
out eighties facsimiles think they are but are falling hopelessly short of.
Where the boys bluster bombastically, The Organ are unafraid to introduce an
element of fragility to their mournful ponder-rock sound.
Pre-gig I have no idea what The Organ are like apart from the fact that Alistair Fitchett has been raving about them on Tangents which is always a good sign. I have no idea what to expect. So they slide onstage, play a mere few notes and I’m immediately in love with these serious looking girls and the noise they’re making as they unfussily push out this lush, gorgeous sound. It’s bursting with references but in a head-swimmingly delicious way. The most obvious and most appealing to me is the warmly desolate shiver of The Cure circa ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ or ‘Just One Kiss’. Nights spent wrapped around ‘Concert and Curiosity’ and ‘The Walk’ E.P. flood my memory, this is weird. Songs and sounds that I haven’t thought about in years reawaken from where they’ve lain dormant in distant cells of my body and infuse my system with essence of teenage brooding.
|The band’s eponymous organ, played by Jenny, has a gravely quavering tone and adds a stately grandeur to the songs. Blank-eyed, dead-pan guitarist Deborah, plucks out icily pristine notes that shiver against the warmth of the organ sound, twinkling points of noise that hang like brittle stars in a frosty sky. The bass sound is colossal, a nod to Hooky, powering the whole thing up and adding the hip-twisting funkiness that pulls it all together. At first the bass keeps cutting out, a song is brought to an abrupt halt as repairs are run. Everything fixed, the bass almost becomes too much, an overbearing presence threatening the delicate balance of the songs.|
the songs! We get a selection taken from 2002’s mini LP ‘Sinking
Hearts’ and from newie ‘Grab That Gun’. ‘No One Has
Ever Looked So Dead’ sparkles and quivers like ‘The Hand That Rocks
The Cradle,’ its ”In the backseat of your car you showed me every
star” line reminiscent of ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’.
‘Brother’ with its ‘we have got to take cover’ line
is urgent and ravishing.
So we’ve got this lush, shivering sound that nods to all your eighties teenage favourites; The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, but it’s singer Katie Sketch who seals the deal. Her voice has a lilting seriousness, an echoey one-tone vocal beamed in from a distant star, soaring and aching. Moving about the tiny stage, she’s the epitome of self-containment, wrapped up in the music and the moment, her eyes remain shut, but somehow it’s a captivating performance. Tonight, effortless cool is a brown tee-shirt, slipping down jeans, short, tousled hair that’s never seen a pair of straighteners (the devil’s own ‘beauty’ implement), and make-up free luminosity. Isn’t it great when you lose your heart when you least expect it?
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