Organized Mess formed in 2005 while the band was just a bunch of wee youngsters. It’s 2014 and the band is still together (still rather young) and just released their second album entitled Topography. The band consisting of Ryan Dugan, Mark Ronning, Connor Borgmier and Caroline Roe fits under the label of indie pop rock.
Topography is full of well-written pop songs that contain infectious vocal melodies, solid guitar progression and a decent amount of originality. That being said, the band has a couple of tricks up their sleeves. They incorporated strings and choral sounds into some of these songs. They were strategic about the placement of these aspects and it didn’t feel overdone.
The band has stated that they “resemble the sound of Death Cab for Cutie in comparison to other groups.” True fact but it wouldn't be so noticeable if the vocalist didn’t sound like Ben Gibbard. There is an innocent boyish quality that is present in both their voices. On top of that the vocalist to a lesser extent has some aesthetic qualities that are comparable to Colin Meloy from The Decemberists.
The album starts off with one of the most original sounding tunes on the album entitled “The Mountain.” Vocal harmonies and orchestral strings support the lead vocal. To be honest I would have been perfectly content with that simple yet effective combination for the entirety of the song. As the song progresses guitar, drums and bass make their presence known driving up the intensity of the music.
One of the highlights was the fourth track “Salt and Water.” The song has a decent amount of melancholy, which sounds good on the band - overall sweet, string melodies for the instruments as well as the vocals. “Hemlock” is a fast, catchy tune with some impressive drumming while “Starters” has some exceptional guitar playing.
Topography is the kind of album that doesn't try to gain your attention with experimental sounds or innovative technique. It relies on songs that get stuck in your head and a keen sense of artistic merit. Recommended.
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