Album Review: Castles – You, the Organ Grinder
Band: Castles (Belgium)
Album: You, the Organ Grinder (2012)
Genre: Alternative Rock/Metal
When I first saw the title of this album I was kind of confused. Never, ever did I see an alternative rock/metal outfit sing about gore. Because yeah, grinding organs is not something one does daily, doesn’t one? However, after hearing the lyrics to the title song, I was reassured, and images of meat pies filled with human body parts were left to the bin.
First of all, I’m very impressed by the graphical concept and design these guys display on their website and album. Congratulations guys, this is top notch.
To begin with, Castles kind of do what Goddess Gagged is doing as well. That is, taking rock and merging it with a metal sub-genre, which in this case is a mix of alternative and nu-metal. Their sound is very refreshing and takes many components from different musical genres. Rhythms, singing and guitar riffs all have a bit of a Nu-/Alternative Metal thing going, while their straight-forward, three-piece sound, without keyboards or layered guitars are more Punk-ish. Together with a progressive rock soup, consisting of more guitar riffs and weird but well-written lyrics.
Regarding musicianship there’s not a lot to say. Guitars are well-played. They are not virtuosic or fast, but some weird solos are present. The bass is very audible, but the sound is not edgy or annoyingly loud. Perhaps the best thing about the music is the drums, which greatly amused the metal-head in me by the occasional blast beats and double bass rolls.
Sound-wise, there’s a few things going. Overall, the mid-range is very present, which might not please everyone. Drums are very well done, since they have some depth in them. However, the rest of the instruments are kind of flat, which mainly to blame on the absence of layered guitars. This makes it easy for the listener to just drift off and let the music go in on one side and out on the other. You, the Organ Grinder doesn’t really grab one on the spot, which is a bit of a shame, because when one listens to it, there are quite a few nice things to hear.
Another thing, which is less pleasing is the songwriting. Although songs are generally well-constructed, and cleverly written, nothing seems to stick to the mind when listening it. Everything just comes and goes, and here is where the album takes a bit of a fall. The sound of Castles is really fresh and original, but it lacks catchiness and memorable tunes, which it needs to build onto the freshness and originality.
This is actually all I have to say about it. You, the Organ Grinder certainly isn’t everyones best friend and if it’s not totally your cup of tea, then this will bore you within three seconds. For fans of the genre I recommend giving it a few spins, because for you, it will definitely be worth it to check out the interesting stuff underneath the thick skin of shallow production.
My Grade: 7.5/10
Buy this when:
- you like the mix of Rock and Metal and you don’t mind the lack of memorable tunes
- you like castles