Artist: Adam Payne
Label: Holy Mountain
Review date: Mar. 6, 2009
Residual Echoes head instigator Adam Payne deviated from his band’s reckless psych whirlwinds to deliver Organ, an album surprisingly full of power pop, balladry and crisp riffing. The comparisons to various rawk this’s and that’s are gonna fly like pies on a Three Stooges skit, so we may as well get a few of ‘em out of the way. Straight ahead opener, "The One After Eyes" suggests anything from the Only Ones to Thin Lizzy to the Raspberries. "In Hell,” piano and all, begins as an inspired-but-loose Muscle Shoals outtake before settling into bouncy pop.
A listener steeped in rock residue from the past 40 years is going to hear any number of bands tucked into this little record, but that has less to do with Payne’s lack of originality and more to do with guitar rock being something that’s simply been done and done and done. Yet, when it’s done as good as Payne does right here, comparisons mean little. For six songs and 36 minutes, Organ hones in on guitar pop’s core before stretching it out, chomping on chords and spitting out flurries of notes that remind one, ala Dinosaur Jr., why the guitar solo still matters. Just listen to "Never See You Anymore,” which earns the guitar climax Payne peels off toward the end.
The same can be said for the album’s instrumental centerpiece, "Incidental Arrangement." Awash in sputtering suggestions of riffs, it slashes its way uphill, finds its center and then chews on chords euphorically, repeating variations on its theme, surrendering to its own pulse before speeding up again. It’s simply one of the finer examples of electric rock and roll orgasm these ears have heard in a while, and gives the rest of Organ all the excuses it might need to matter.
By Bruce Miller