by Ben Grigg
Your Doomed, the latest record from Philly’s Sun Organ, came out on Halloween. It’s a fitting date, given the song titles "Evil In The Trees," "Blood Red Sky," and "Doom," (not to mention "Doom Two"). Perhaps equally ominous, I have long thought that there must be something in Philadelphia municipal water that spawns creative and distinctive bands. Sun Organ has clearly been drinking from this same supply and Your Doomed sees them growing further into their own beast. Tim Jordan (ex-Spirit of the Beehive) is the primary creative force in Sun Organ. On this record, he recruited help from friends representing some of Philly’s best (Gunk, Ugh God).
The record opens with "Evil In The Trees," an excellent introduction and in hot contention for the best song on the album. The drums are distorted and blown out, both huge and aggressive. The guitars are characteristically delayed, floating over the top of the song. Jordan’s soothing and relaxed vocal melodies keep calm, even in the heaviest parts of the song. The track ends with a groove-heavy head-bobbing interlude that feels improvised and inspired. This track in particular contains the best elements of Sun Organ, as well as some of their aforementioned Philly contemporaries. It’s a distinctive and exciting sonic palette, executed perfectly here.
"Blood Red Sky" has a much cleaner drum production, but the magic isn’t lost. The choruses expand out nicely, hooking the listener just in time to catch Jordan deliver the memorable line “the devil is me”. Track three is hilariously titled "You're Doomed," not to be confused with the album title. It’s a chilled out track, with intimate vocals and tape hiss. A cello follows the vocal line down while pulsing bass propels the song along. It’s an immersive track that suddenly finds the listener three cups deep in the Sun Organ Kool-Aid.
"What A Terrible Life" picks things back up again with an earworm vocal melody and the best guitar tones on the record. It’s a mid-tempo jammer worthy of spin after spin. "Doom" chills thing out again. That may be an understatement actually. We are transported to a back woods campsite, complete with crickets and blue jays. Fingerstyle acoustic guitar builds and expands after a couple minutes with banjos and portamento synths. The campsite is now some alternate reality where country folk play synthesizers and you’ve forgotten how you got there. It’s a fun track and a nice meditative break in the middle of the record.
"Doom Two" returns us to the city, or at least a suburb. The crickets remain. It’s a laid back jam with tastefully distorted kick drum, acoustic guitar, and synths. The laid back vibe of the song sets the stage nicely for "Dead Beat Poetry," the high water mark for the album in terms of energy. It’s a straight ahead banger, decidedly of the Philly universe. It's a great track that will make you wish you had a reason to make a mix tape/cd for a friend.
"Mushroom Tea" chills things out again with some playful vocal harmony effects thrown in to boot. It may also win an award for the most relaxed and hilarious delivery of “...we’re gunna have a mother fucking good time.” The record closes strong with "The Days Go," a shining example of what Sun Organ does best and could stand as a thesis statement for the record. It’s heavy but lush with great guitar lead lines and enviable tones, another undeniable head-bobber.
My only qualm with Your Doomed is the sequencing. Shuffling the order of the songs a bit might have maintained the momentum of songs like "What A Terrible Life" which, as is, stands as an island of mid-tempo rock between two very chilled out tracks. Regardless of this small criticism, Your Doomed is a thoroughly enjoyable and immersive record, rewarding listen after listen, leaving you excited to hear what Jordan and company do next.