Sunday, November 4, 2012

Album Review- EXANIMATE by Geronimo! - Loud and Luscious

Exanimate, the sophomore full length album from Chicago 3 piece rockers Geronimo! is head bangingly great. It doesn't try to straddle any garage rock fence or step into beach goth or lo fi or punk. It is balls out rock unabashedly flaunting classic progs on songs like Natural Feeling that feels like arena rock ala Bullet The Blue Sky by U2 (except harder edged). What is stunning is that while all these songs have big rock at their core they also stray effortlessly into that progressive vein. Downtown Pulse with it's double time beat, and dynamic guitar breaks is one such song and Fluxxed is so sweeping in scope, dreamy, industrial, both pristine and raw as it turns and changes shape multiple times. It turns classic rock inside out (think Mars Volta or Porcupine Tree). Kelly Johnson on guitar and lead vocals, Ben Grigg on Keys and Matt Schwerin are not only skilled players but they know how to coax both lush and thick powerful sounds out of their instruments. You do not miss the bass guitar as Grigg's creates a sonic often times dirty bass wall of sound with his synth complimented by Schwerin's heavy handed drumming. Johnson also has the right amount of scream to his guitar work and melodic vox. Every good rock record has a song or songs that induce speeding in your car. The two on Exanimate would have to be Electric Heart and Love Conduit. Both feel like chase songs and are powerful, loose and jammy.

Amidst the runaway prog rock songs, there are two slow tempo songs that left me speechless. The stirring Please Come Over is symphonic lullaby as it rolls and swells around a dreamy guitar picked rhythm. Ultra dense flourishes of vocal and musical sounds atop a steady and powerful drumbeat swell and then swell some more. The result is haunting, psychedelic and maybe even mournful. Crushtapher Robin has no resemblance to the whimsical character the name may be derived from. It is an instrumental powerhouse, all bluster and thunder- the breaks with the discordant lead lines are bad ass. Less hipster, more headbanger, Exanimate bathes in the light of power chord rock Godliness while also lurking in the dreamy shadows of progressive and psychedelic music. Rock that is loud and luscious. What more could you ask for more?

Robb Donker

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