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The Minus 5 – At The Organ

The garage rock stylings and campy sense of humor of Young Fresh Fellows leader Scott McCaughey (vocals, bass) was an apparently integral, yet often overlooked, factor in the Seattle alternative music revolution during the early ’90s. McCaughey influence allegedly aided in breaking many bands during that time – Jeff Tweedy and Wilco to name one occurrence – and he eventually toured with R.E.M., solidifying his career to an extent. Recommended reading comes in the form of the Yep Roc records website and their section on McCaughey, which basically utilizes plenty of name-dropping (R.E.M., Yoko Ono, Steve Martin, etc.) To paint him as some sort of garage rock hero.

The Young Fresh Fellows sense of humor comes through even in McCaughey’s current work, as tongue-in-cheek and yet somehow self-referential lyrics frame the beginning of the album; a series of out takes from the “Down With Wilco” sessions. McCaughey sings that he’s “got a lyrical stance/it’s in my pants” over an uninspired and predictable progression for the first track, which sets the mood for the rest of the recording. Occasionally McCaughey strays slightly from the garage-pop course, but diversions like the drunken ode entitled “One More Bottle to Go” hardly leave you wanting more.

With the veritable revolving door of pop musicians McCaughey has paired with in The Minus 5, one would think that he would attempt to explore different territory and make full use of the talents possessed by his company at that time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen here – we’ve all heard this sort of thing before. “At The Organ” certainly sounds and feels like a collection of leftover recordings and doesn’t stand as a solid release on it’s own. However, collectors and hard-core fans may want to find a space in their collection for this little outing.


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