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Organ - Memorize The City

  by John Clarkson

published: 7 / 7 / 2006

Organ - Memorize The City
Label: Select Label
Format: CDS


Atmospheric and ambiguous latest single, re-released from last year, from Vancouver-based all-girl five piece, the Organ

‘Memorize the City’ originally came out on the small UK indie label Noize! in October of last year. At the time the Vancouver-based all-girl five piece were still trying to break onto the UK scene, and ‘Memorize the City’, their second British record, was the follow-up to their six song debut EP, ‘Sinking Hearts’, which had come out on the equally tiny Bristol-based Sink ‘n’ Stove Records six months before that in April 2005. In the nine months since then, the Organ have signed to Beggar’s Banquet offshoot and major indie label Too Pure, and have released to both critical acclaim and solid sales another single ‘Brother’and also their debut album ‘Grab That Gun’ (which came out originally in Canada in late 2004 and which in the UK at the time of its release in April had seen only three of its songs not already released). This second version of ‘Memorize the City’ has been put out by Beggar’s to coincide with the band’s fifth and largest European tour to date, which will conclude with dates at both the Reading and Leeds Festivals. Melancholic, hauntingly atmospheric and sexually ambiguous, like most of the Organ’s work, ‘Memorize the City’ pays testimony to the band’s home town, and finds singer Katie Sketch, wistful and aching with longing, walking through it for a last time before she has to leave (“I walk around the streets and memorize the city/I can’t turn around until I reach the shore/Sometimes I close my eyes and you’re not very pretty”). With a potential new romance set to wilt before it has even properly began, she is, however, reluctant to let it go and, whatever her native city’s ugliness, to walk totally away from it (“Although our lips barely touched/ I have never felt so much/ and I would really like to feel that way again”). The quintet has drawn frequent comparisons with both the Smiths and Blondie. With sparkling backing from the rest of the band, which includes Debora Cohen’s chiming guitar, spiralling bass work from Ashley Webb, hefty drumming from Shelby Stocks and jangling volleys of Hammond organ from Jenny Smyth, both ‘Memorize the City’ and the Organ, however, draw closer likeness still to those other and lesser known early 80’s groups Martha and the Muffins and the Passions. The B side is an acoustic reworking of ‘No One Has Ever Looked So Dead’, one of the tracks from ‘Grab That Gun’. Recorded for a Gideon Coe BBC Radio 6 session on the band’s last UK tour in March, Smyth’s usually domineering organ is a muted, whispering presence, while Cohen’s fluttering guitar is pushed instead to the fore. The original, despite a dark lyric which found Smyth reminiscing about a dead ex-love whom she had once gone star watching with, had a jaunty sound, but this new version, which makes strong use of vocal harmonies, is softer and more lilting in tone, and has a 60’s folk feel. Far removed from the Organ’s usual 80’s new wave sound, it reveals a totally different new side to the band. This is another good single from the Organ. On its second release in the space of less than a year, it would, without it B side, however, offer little except for completists and for those who had missed out on the band before they signed to Beggar’s. While it is perhaps already time even now so soon after its UK release for the band to return to the studio, rather than to over use and to soon exhaust material from ‘Grab that Gun’, this, however, in the mean time serves very well.

Track Listing:-
1 Memorize The City
2 There Is Nothing I Can Do

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Interview (2008)
Organ - Interview
The Organ broke up in December 2006 just as they had started to taste success both in their native Canada and Europe. Have briefly reunited to record 'Thieves', a final set of six songs, singer Katie Sketch speaks to John Clarkson about the reasons for the all girl group's abrupt break-up
Interview (2005)

live reviews

Late Room, Manchester, 17/7/2006
Organ - Late Room, Manchester, 17/7/2006
Back to see Vancouver all girl five piece the Organ for a second time, Dixie Ernill at the Late Rooms in Manchester watches them play a fiery and aggressive set and onceagain prove themselves to be very special indeed
Metro, London, 15/8/2005


Grab That Gun (2006)
Atmospheric, sexually ambiguous debut album from Canadian all girl group the Organ, which recolleects early 80's pop new wave bands such as the Passions and Martha and the Muffins
Brother (2006)
Memorize The City (2005)
Sinking Hearts (2005)

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