How can you be subtle and hugely powerful at the same time? How can you sound both unspeakably vulnerable and supremely powerful? Go one way and you take the arrogant Oasis route, go the other and you'll be to scared to let anyone even hear the record. Unless you're Geneva, that is. Potent guitars and melodies most bands would kill for are married to one of the most beautiful, fragile falsettos you're likely to hear. Catch it in the wrong frame of mind, and "Tranquilizer" will have you blubbing into your Rice Krispies, while "Into The Blue" is just irresistible. If you don't fall in love with it, you have obviously never had your heart broken. Gorgeous. ---Emma Johnston
- Tim Mohr
To their credit, Geneva are one of the few recent bands to aspire to make music of truly epic quality, music capable of inspiring awe and passion. Even more extraordinary, perhaps, is the fact that their efforts in this direction are proven entirely successful on their debut, Further. Geneva make music that soars and swoops, music with a tragic beauty and sense of catharsis only found in masterpieces like Radiohead's The Bends or Ride's Nowhere.
Opening with cascading guitars, "Temporary Wings" explodes with rolling bass, drums, and more layers of guitars like the start of a lost Ride album. Then the vocals careen in from above, a choir boy striving for some otherworldly release.
The second track is one of the pre-album singles, "Into The Blue," and has the sense of drama and sweeping, wide-screen aspiration of Radiohead. A smooth bass and jangle guitar intro yields the lyrics, "On a day like today, nothing gets better, come what may/I could just disappear...into the blue" before a crescendo of guitars is unleashed alongside, "Can't you show me what to do? Won't you?"
The boyish male vocalist Andrew Montgomery never reverts to the near-spoken-word passages that Radiohead recently used on parts of OK Computer. Certainly, he has a sense of dynamics that flow with the song structure and words, but he is always singing. Because of this, the album has a melodic consistency that, even without the harmonies that Ride used to put together on their early recordings, rivals almost any of the current British bands. Musically, Further is almost a throwback to the early 90s heyday of bands such as Slowdive or, again, Ride, though the variation in guitar tones and effects leaves the album difficult to date. In addition, some of the arrangements are left very open, then supplemented with live string parts.
Geneva also turn in some quieter songs, following the lead of Nude label owners, Suede. Even on these pieces, though, there are interesting bits to distinguish their pensive moments from other bands': the papery drums on "God Of Sleep" provide a good example.
In short, Geneva are doing something quite unique in many respects, while yielding a rending universality as a result of the efficiency with which they articulate the emotional foundation of each song.
The restrained desperation with which the lyrics are delivered, the catharsis that musically is invoked, the incongruity of the high-pitched voice before a hailstorm of sound, and the waves with which the songs build all make Further an instant classic destined to contend with The Bends for most affecting album of an era.