I can already hear the voices of some of my fellow Picky Bastards in my head as I sit down to write this review. How can you like Geese, they’ll say? You hate The Strokes and they sound just like them. I’m gonna head those questions off straight away by saying that yes, I can hear the influence of their predecessors on this record but that this album is chocked full of other influences that are just as obvious. But yet they also feel so new at the same time. And my problem with The Strokes has always been that they feel so one note and have done throughout their whole career. Geese, on the other hand, can change tack in the middle of a song. While ‘Fantasies / Survival’ may be one of the most Strokes-ish song in its intro, the older band would never explode into the crazy and fascinating maelstrom that ends this track. It is a moment that really makes you take notice.
Other songs, like the percussion-led stomper that is ‘Disco’, will have you thinking of different influences. This time it’s The White Stripes. With two huge bands already getting a mention here, I guess there might be a temptation for the reader to write off Geese as another derivative band that aren’t worth your time. That would be a shame. Because after a few weeks of listening to Projector, I haven’t been able to tie this band or album down to a single sound or genre. Every time I’ve decided how to pigeonhole them, I’ll remember one of the other songs or a snippet in which they burst into life and I will be back to square one.
Where this leaves me, then, is in a place where I think that Geese are doing that very difficult thing of feeling extremely creative while also sitting in the space that exists somewhere between indie and post-punk. They’re a guitar band, sure. But they are one that never stays still for long enough for the album to feel like it is more of the same. ‘Exploding House’ is a strong example. Over six minutes feels like it is going to be a very long run time when the intro meanders for just over a minute and the slow vocal kicks in, but this song goes through so many twists and turns that it is impossible not to be captivated.
And there is nothing that sums up this album better than the idea of twists and turns, as each song takes us somewhere new while managing to all make up the identity of the band. It’s exciting. And what makes it all the more exciting is that, when reading the bio for the band, you realise that this band is made up of people who aren’t even twenty yet. That they wrote this in high school. To take a host of influences and make a sound that is all your own is no mean feat, but to do so at such a young age is all the more impressive. And their age also makes you forgive the few moments that do feel derivative or less captivating. If they are doing this now, there is a huge amount of hope for their future. And they’re also just a shit ton of fun – stick on ‘Rain Dance’, ‘Low Era’, ‘Projector’, or any of the songs I mentioned above, and try to stop yourself from smiling.
Words by Fran Slater