How surprising is it that the name of The Whitsundays’ keyboardist is Doug Organ? Then again, the jokes that could be made are put to rest when Organ steps up to his vintage instrument—his ability to channel the 60s greats like Rod Argent [The Zombies] and Ray Manzarek [The Doors] is stunning, stemming beyond the mere sound to mimic their ability to whip out sections of quick, catchy improvisation. There is no question of whether or not Organ lives up to his name.
These days the term improvisation, in the world of pop and rock music, is reserved primarily for the avant garde. There was a surge back in the 90s thanks to groups like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., but it has for the most part remained absent in the world of pop for some time. “Falling Over” and “The Ways Of The Sweet Talking Boys” hone in on this re-found mastery with an audibly orgasmic effect.
Beyond the brief organ solos, the group as a whole focuses their efforts on drawing from the best of 60s pop for a sound that is timeless. Frontman Paul Arnusch [also of Faunts and The Floor] crafts his vocals with a blend of the light fuzziness of Franz Ferdinand and the all-out distortion of The Legends’ debut, Up Against The Legends, though filled with much more mystery and a delicate darkness.
The Whitsunday’s self-titled debut is a must-have for fans of 60s psychedelic and vintage garage pop, as well as more modern Elephant 6 die-hards. It might be packed with pleasant pop, but their ability to look beyond the constraints of more recent nostalgia has allowed them to resurrect a vast array of elements that, when it comes to pop music in the past few decades, should never have demised in the first place.
This review was originally published February, 22, 2008 on the old version of FensePost.
The Whitsundays: It Must Be Me [mp3]
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The Whitsundays: Sorry James [mp3]
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Friendly Fire Recordings [CD, 2008]
2. Falling Over
3. I Want It All
4. It Must Be Me
6. Sorry James
7. The Ways Of The Sweet Talking Boys
8. Already Gone
9. Bring It On Home
10. Whitsunday Morning Theme