Chances are, you’re already privy to the situation: Wolf Parade is officially done, and frontman Spencer Krug has turned his ever-changing attention to his Moonface project, which he explained in a press release “is not a band” but “any solo collaborative projects I’m involved in from now until whenever.” Last winter, Krug hunkered down in his Montreal home to record an LP based around percussive vibraphone jams; but when those ideas just wouldn’t come, he ended up writing music on an old double manual organ. Even that plan didn’t play out completely. Krug wanted a record of “lush keyboard drones,” but he had “a little dude who lives inside [him] that loves pop music,” who made him work some hooks and catchy chord progressions into the songs’ webbing.
And so we have Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped, an odd little album whose title all but sums up the epic tale of its origins as well as its sound. For five songs and 37 minutes, Krug plays with drones like he’d planned, but also in the mix are a bunch of distorted, upper-register organ leads and some miscellaneous bleeps and bloops. Sprinkled drum loops give the songs a percussive backbone, but rhythmic duties are shared almost equally by the chorus of constantly oscillating organ arpeggios.
To hear Krug tell it, the “little dude” inside him turned what was supposed to be an experimental record into a stable of bona fide Top 40 hits in the waiting, but don’t expect any of these songs to get played on the radio. Well, except for maybe “Fast Peter,” the most immediate—and probably best—of the five. It’s an upbeat, heartfelt number that communicates themes of distance and innocent, long-suffering love in an “All My Friends” sort of way (not to mention that the “Won’t you win the race” refrain is probably the record’s most touching moment).
Elsewhere on the record, Krug indulges himself by milking arpeggios, low-pitched organ pads and repeated chord progressions for all they’re worth on songs that unfold slowly over the course of six to eight minutes. It’s “dense,” Krug said of the album, “but in a satisfying way, I hope, like eating a small, heavy piece of cheesecake.” It’s hard to describe it any better than that.
Krug won’t make any new fans with Organ Music, but that’s not what he’s trying to do here, anyway. He’s just having himself some fun—or, as he put it, “lurching toward” his musical ideas “impulsively.”