Geographer - Myth
Record Label: Modern Art Records
Release Date: February 28, 2012
On Geographer's 2010 release Animal Shapes, a slightly different version of the song "Kites" was the second track. Here, on the recently released Myth, it's the album's send-off number, doing so in a synth-drenched blaze of drum-machined glory. I'm not sure what message the California three-piece is trying to tell us, other than they obviously find much merit in "Kites." That's fine, you'd be hard-pressed to find another song that so intelligently uses the band's three members (especially Cellist Nathan Blaz) to create a song that is really kind of weird but doesn't feel that way at all. In fact, weird-but-not is perhaps the best descriptor I can come up with when it comes to this somehow non-ironic electronic music. It's maybe hard to see these guys rocking anything remotely close to this in their youth, but it's still a believable (and thoroughly enjoyable) romp through lite-rave atmospheres and coffee shops known more for weed than lattes.
Whatever that all means, because Myth seems like one of those albums that can really thrive in a post-critical world. Songs like opener "Life of Crime" and it's bubbly electro-power pop cousin "The Myth of Youth" are extremely visceral, face value compositions. This is all very clearly meant to be an instantaneous sort of thing. Which is fine, great; in the year of our lord 2012 too many things seem to require discussions and arguments and so much unnecessary hoop-jumping that when a band like Geographer come around and give us the uber-sexy 70's send-up "Lover's Game," with the line, "There's nothing we can do / We were born to die fools," it's just like, yeah, perfect. Let's jam for the sake of it for once.
I fear that what I've said may make it seem like I'm implying there's no intellectual value to a band like Geographer. However, I think their collective musical path speaks to just how smart these guys are. Vocalist Michael Deni is one of those rare singers who can bend his voice into familiar falsetto highs, while still retaining a meaty texture (gross!) that can drive an otherwise-schizophrenic song like "The Dream Has Faded." And the heavy presence of a cello isn't some talking point for music snobs to pick up chicks with, it actually wears a considerable amount of hats (how it softens the melody on the alt-rock "Shell Beach" or on "The Boulder," when an otherwise overwrought climactic finale becomes elevated as Blaz cuts through the tension in a wholly unexpected yet catchy way).
Basically, despite what I said above, Geographer can exist in any way you like. Calling them a band destined for mainstream success seems wrong, but not because it's unfeasible. It seems wrong because that's just not something that is necessarily attractive or even necessary for a band like this anymore. Geographer can still exist in a world where fans merely bob their heads to the synthesizers, or where those fans might feel strong enough to jam "Kites" at a house party. Both outcomes are acceptable forms of connection. Whether we take it any further than that is a personal choice, one that a band like Geographer have deftly left up to us.
Recommended If You Like: Ra Ra Riot meets Discovery, Generationals, Givers
This CD blew me away, it is really amazing. I got into them a year ago and fell in love with the Animal Shapes EP and blasted it constantly, I can see myself doing the same with this album. Michael Deni is slowly becoming one of my favorite vocalist.