Geese — „Projector“ (Oct. 29, 2021)

USA FLAG                                                                                                Geese — „Projector“ (Oct. 29, 2021)
•⇔• S působivými výkony a několika slibnými momenty mladá brooklynská post~punková kapela jasně vyhmátla všechny ty správné kroky — ale je těžké říct, co jimi pohne. Možná to nejsou Greta Van Fleet s kopií Meet Me in the Bathroom s ušatýma psíma ušima, ale kdyby v roce 2002 byli Geese uprostřed čtyřkapelového koncertu v Mercury Lounge, pamatovali bychom si je za rok? Byli by stále považováni za legitimní post~punk majrakl, kdyby jim bylo 20 a místo toho by pocházeli z Brookline, Massachusetts se 63.000 obyvateli? Posloužily by lépe, kdyby byly považovány za odpověď roku 2021 na Stills spíše než na Strokes? Možná, ale žádná z těchto hypotéz není pravdivá. 
•⇔• Téměř každý z jejich referenčních bodů mohl být kdysi zamýšlen jako subverze, inkubovaný v nejošklivějších klubech v New Yorku, ale dokud jsou Geese kapelou, Talking Heads jsou klasickou rockovou institucí, Strokes mohou být headlinery festivalů v mimocyklech. A vyhrajte ceny Grammy za to, že jste znovu získali byť jen náznak bývalé slávy těch legend, a CBGB je reinkarnovaná restaurace na letišti v Newarku. Viz tag:
•⇔• „Projector“ je nejlépe oceněno ne jako dílo post~punkových vzkřísitelů, ale jeho namyšlených, charismatických dětí svěřeneckých fondů: nezajímají se o legitimitu svého dědictví a jsou přesvědčeni, že neexistuje způsob, jak selhat. •⇔• 
•⇔• Zkrátka, Geese je kapela, která začíná a končí v Brooklynu jako projekt mezi přáteli na vybudování domácího studia ze sklepních prostor. Jejich písně se rodí ze stejné ambice: dělat hudbu všemi nezbytnými prostředky. Začali nahrávat společně s teniskami jako mikrofonními stojany a přikrývkami přehozenými přes bedny, to vše odpoledne po školním dnu, aby se nevystavili riziku stížností na hluk. Nedávno podepsali nahrávací smlouvu, takže uvažují o přechodu od mikrofonů a zesilovačů s dekou, ale jejich hudební étos se ani trochu nezměnil. Zvědavě cizí, a přesto podivně povědomé, debutové album Projector je produktem pěti teenagerů, jejichž láska k hudbě se dotýká všech aspektů jejich života: jejich neklidná úzkost o vlastní budoucnost a potlačovaná frustrace ze současnosti — perspektivy. V dnešním nejistém světě příliš známé. •⇔• 
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: Oct. 29, 2021
Record Label: Partisan Records/Play It Again Sam
Duration:     41:15
1. Rain Dance   3:23
2. Low Era   4:15
3. Fantasies / Survival   4:28
4. First World Warrior   3:12
5. Disco   6:48
6. Projector   4:26
7. Exploding House   6:04
8. Bottle   3:32
9. Opportunity is Knocking   5:07

Paolo RagusaOct. 28, 20214:30pm ET Score: ★★★★
•⇔• In typical New York City fashion, Geese hails, essentially, from a basement. But unlike the current trend of bedroom pop and indie stars turning into NYC phenomena via a solo project, Geese are doing so with five members.
•⇔• Packed into an undoubtedly sweaty basement studio in Brooklyn — appropriately dubbed “The Nest” by the band — Geese have formulated their magnificent debut album Projector, out Friday, October 29th, and arrived with a fully realized sound, an impressive command over their instruments, and a few (virgin) cocktails worth of energy.
•⇔• Though the members of Geese — who are also Consequence’s November Artist of the Month — have only recently graduated high school, their tightly~composed sound and progressive instrumentation suggests that they’ve been playing music forever. Comparisons between Britain’s black midi have been thrown around a great deal — partly due to the fact that Projector was mixed by Dan Carey, who helmed black midi’s remarkable debut Schlagenheim. And while that comparison is not unfounded, Geese seem to be entirely in their own lane.
•⇔• Projector features the sound of a young band following every avenue they’re interested in, all without losing their essence: interlocking guitar parts, quick tempo and feel changes, explosions and implosions when you least expect them. And where bands like Squid and black midi lean so heavily into math rock that it can be hard to digest, Geese’s brand of progressive indie rock is wholly accessible and deeply fun.
•⇔• This is, perhaps, because their primary influences seem to come not from jazz, progressive rock or metal — instead, there’s an aspect of Projector that feels supremely indebted to The Strokes, Interpol and other New York City Post~Punk Revival outfits.
•⇔• Vocalist Cameron Winter’s booming, oft~affected voice guides each of these songs, and his quivering baritone and borderline surreal lyrics recall Paul Banks and Julian Casablancas’ anxious malaise. Guitarists Gus Green and Foster Hudson’s pinwheeling riffs color provide these songs with a kinetic sense of emotion, frequently offset with fascinating harmonies and full~band shifts.
•⇔• But Geese are the most interesting when they’re pushing and pulling apart as a unit: take lead single “Disco,” for example. Across nearly seven minutes, Geese build a groove and dismantle it repeatedly, and all the while, they sound absolutely massive. Towards the middle half, they stumble upon a euphoric high and ride it out for almost two minutes, building what you think would be the climax and the end of the song.
•⇔• Yet, when you least expect it, they find a moment to break the song wide open again and bring everything back to a heavily distorted, churning, freaked~out version of the opening groove. It’s a brilliant example of what they do best, both musically and lyrically — finding moments of gorgeous euphoria sandwiched between anxiety~ridden rock.
•⇔• Another highlight is “Exploding House,” which opens with a blistering, synth~covered, heavily~layered intro before, of course, shifting gears entirely. Throughout the many parts of “Exploding House,” Winter narrates his fears. “I’m terrified of you/ because you’re more than I bear to lose,” he sings, shrouded in a driving confusion. Lines later, he admits, “I’m terrified to say that these walls will never come down…” and then the band shifts gears into a wildly different feel once again.
•⇔• It’s almost as if these statements of fear and anxiety — as well as their ensuing tempo, style, and rhythm changes, done with precision and immediacy — are defense mechanisms, ways out of the fray and into a new one, and attempts to distract, escape, or understand. This seems to be the key focus of Projector and the frenetic qualities of their sound.
•⇔• The way Geese oscillate between reflecting anxiety and bliss, with very little overlap from part to part, is what makes them so exciting and fresh.
•⇔• That’s not to say they can’t go further into the abyss: with bands like black midi and Black Country, New Road rapidly expanding their canvas size, Geese can afford to embrace “unconventional” in more ways than tempo changes and progressive freakouts.
•⇔• Winter’s poetic lyrics are often gripping, but at times they lose focus and conjure little; on the other hand, Geese really choose their moments to let the occasional synth sound highlight a song, and it would be interesting to hear them lean even heavier into some synth and keyboard wizardry. But it’s clear that these five musicians have learned the rules and are actively breaking them, and their unpredictability from moment to moment is powerful, fun, and enigmatic.
•⇔• “Opportunity Is Knocking,” the final song on Projector, ends in true Geese fashion — with a humongous ramp up to a climatic, unison stomp, until they shift keys entirely for only five seconds, as Winter awkwardly asks “Is this the end?”
•⇔• A drum fill, and then silence. It’s a small, confusing, and understated way to end a debut album, but in Geese world, this is the language they speak best. It’s worth noting that Geese is comprised of Gen Z Brooklynites, and both of these groups at large seem to have a knack for breaking conventions and doing things their own way. If Projector is any indication, Geese will be breaking conventions for years to come.
•⇔• Geese are a band of Brooklyn kids just out of high school, but they’ve already got the indie~rock~prodigy thing easily in hand on their excellent debut. The erudition on Projector can be pretty staggering. You can hear NYC guitar zone~out Zen masters like Television, the Feelies, and Parquet Courts; the early~’00s neo~New Wave and dance~punk of the Strokes, the Rapture, and LCD Soundsystem; scads of art~spaz stuff from DNA to Deerhoof to Black Midi; and even a flash of prog touchstones like Yes and Radiohead. Singer Cameron Winter can hoist his voice into a Thom Yorkean falsetto, put on a posh pout à la Julian Casablancas or Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen, or lapse into a stentorian yawp that brings to mind Mark E. Smith of the Fall or Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. Sometimes you can hear it all cross~pollinating within the space of the same three~minute song, making for an album that rewards both short attention spans and deep listening. It’s a real treat to hear them zip between sonic epiphanies.

•⇔• Geese have been getting a lot of baby~band hype, but they’ve playing together for years. That time together gives their music a veteran chemistry and confidence that almost feels disconcerting considering their age — like when you get to college and meet some terrifyingly smart kid in freshman year English who casually claims she’s already read Ulysses. “Fantasies/Survival” starts off like a fun riff on the early Strokes, until it speeds off into the stratosphere, wearing its hand~me~down black leather jacket like Superman’s cape. “First World Warrior” stretches out with a patient, gorgeous ambient spaciousness that stands in sharp contrast to the angular, over~heated tumult of songs like the album~opener “Rain Dance.”
•⇔• At their best, Geese connect these two impulses — their fidgety side and their dreamy side coming together to make music that’s at once driving and disoriented, undercutting its man~size musical command with the youthful wonder, ambivalence, and worry you’d expect from sharp teenagers. “I’m afraid of the world/’Cause I don’t know what it might do,” Winter sings on “Exploding House,” their dazzling expression of OK Computer~style paranoid angst. When the title track opens with him singing “Underneath the basement/I am the king of cicadas,” the lordly cockiness feels tongue~in~cheek; when he admits “I’m only human,” a minute or so later, it sounds much more sincere.
•⇔• The album’s centerpiece is the six~minute single “Disco,” which goes from stormy no~wave stomp to Television~style guitar surrealism, as Winter describes a rough night at out at the club that unfolds like a nightmare vision of the Strokes’ bygone NYC player’s paradise: “You threw your drink on me as I was leaning over/But I still asked you if you wanted to leave/I talk to the mirror like I’m trying to start a fight.” Not a bad metaphor for coming of age in the horror~show reality of 2021. Luckily, on Projector, Geese know all the right noise to guide us to a good time anyway.
Review by Ian Cohen•⇔•Nov. 4 2021•⇔• Score: 6.6