The Minus 5: At the Organ

Jill LaBrack

The Minus 5 prove again that while you continually search for your new favorite pop band, you should just trust in the stamina of Scott McCaughey.

The Minus 5

At the Organ

Label: Yep Roc
US Release Date: 2004-11-02
UK Release Date: 2004-11-29

1. "Lyrical Stance". Jeff Tweedy singing "I've got something in my pants / And it's a lyrical stance". Okay, you're not in the mood for a joke, but it's catchy and it rocks. You will like this. You will play this song more than you think you will. It's less than a minute and a half long. Really, what's not to like?

2. "Hotel Senator". It has one of those openings that sounds like you're traveling up a broken escalator. It clinks. Try to resist that opening. And that's just the beginning. It goes on to add a Zombies-ish organ. It's spooky but then still fun. The chorus comes walking in (not running, mind you; this is classy stuff) and it's a sunny pop song. Then, scary again. How does all of this work in one song? Well, it's Scott McCaughey, of course.

3. "Formerly Hail Centurion". Because you can't beat the lines "I don't know who you are / You big-ass latex star". And the doodoodoo's. Heaven. One complaint: Rebecca Gates (ex-Spinanes) is given credit for vocals but they're buried, just about. And I hate that. I hate that even more because Rebecca Gates has always been cool as fuck. But I can't deny this is a great song. And I guess she's in there somewhere.

4. "Film of the Movie". It starts like a fast train. Vocals come in almost immediately. No waiting here. A pedal steel adds the sorrow of all the broken hearts in the world, whilst the rest of the instruments carry on as if the universe is going to end and they have to make certain people dance. Important references in this song: castanets, sheep shears, The Great Escape, and knees. This should be the song playing at midnight on New Year's.

5. "The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply". The title should be enough for you. Indie rockers, you know what I mean. Those of you killing time at your office job: you will have no more need for the Barenaked Ladies nor Cake (meaning: the Minus 5 doesn't need to try to be funny. Scott McCaughey is simply a playfully sardonic man, which makes for simple truths in the midst of clever lines) once you have established a relationship with the Minus 5. This new love could start today! They're on iTunes! Go for it!! (Although you'll miss the video. See reason #7.)

6. "The Days of Wine & Booze". In which Scott McCaughey and the folks of Wilco do their best Steve Wynn. They may out-Wynn Wynn, too. Well, they're just better at three-minute pop than Mr. Wynn is.

7. "One More Bottle to Go". Okay, not this song. The comment on the CD jacket is funny, though. It says, "Is this even music? Ask YOU." Well, my answer is, sure it is, but it's annoying. The seventh reason to get this is for the video for "The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply" that exists within. The kids should be watching this daily on whatever station plays videos these days. The Minus 5 should be taking over the world.

Those are the seven basic reasons for pledging loyalty to this EP. Let me just add that if there was a test to take to obtain the job of Pop Song Writer, Scott McCaughey would be one of the lucky ones to pass it. The man could probably write an AM radio jingle that could make you say, "Hey, I never knew I liked deodorant songs until now. What have I been missing?" I'm certain he's written songs in his sleep. He has written them in the midst of crisis, on 9/11/01. Go figure. Or don't. Don't even think about it. Just pull out a ten dollar bill and get yourself At the Organ. It's six songs of bliss.


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