In December, the world got its first taste of new sounds from Geographer‘s first full-length on Modern Art Records through the lead single “Life of Crime”. The song serves as MYTH’s opening track, unpacking the oversized synthesizers, making it clear that there’s something a bit different about this group. Although they sound bigger, they’re still relative newcomers aiming for the understated, shying away from the carefree songs that made up 2010’s much-loved Animal Shapes EP.
Vocalist Michael Deni and his San Francisco-based band explore societal myths on this disc, and in doing so, let their dance-pop lose some of its sheen. The most obvious foray into newer territory is the guitar-driven “The Myth of Youth”. Bruce Springsteen and Arcade Fire have been cited as influences on the recording of MYTH, so it’s no mistake that more than ever, guitars define the release. The frustration in “Blinders” explains itself through even more angular guitar attack; it’s clear that Geographer is maturing, and, as they do, they’re exploring new textures.
Still, “Lover’s Game”, a straightforward pop jam built around piano and Deni’s superb falsetto, is the band at their strongest. Built on loose lines like “There’s nothing we can do/We were born to die fools,” the song is open and relaxed enough to let everyone join their party.
Meanwhile, “Kaleidoscope” shows us the ambient, loop-loving side of Geographer. It’s sparse and alive with a chilliness that Deni’s clear, high voice perfectly impresses upon. And, of course, “Kites” is a welcome nod to the EP that gained them so much attention in 2010. While the expectations off of that one EP were very high, Geographer managed to show how well they clean up.
Essential Tracks: “Lovers Game”, “Kaleidoscope”, and “Kites”
Be sure to catch Geographer beginning this March as they headline CoS’ first nationwide tour, alongside Modern Art.