Rock is not dead. Take, for example, Black Country, New Road's witty, peculiar yet beautiful creativity or Black Midi's vehement avant-garde musical experiments that construct chaotic narratives; rock musicians and bands today are entertaining us with their insatiable ambition. The Brooklyn-based rock band Geese, which has often been compared to these rock spearheads, recently released their sophomore album 3D Country.
Taking a more unique approach compared to Projector, their debut album inspired by the NYC guitar rock and dance scene, the mood in 3D Country is surprisingly swampy and rustic. In the 1970s, the Southern Rock genre developed from the traditional American folk music of country and blues, peaking in popularity with acts like Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Since then, mainstream rock music styles have leaned toward a more post-punk/new-wave-based sound, whereas traditional blues/country-oriented rock has become less common and popular in the latest rock scene.
However, Geese revives this rustic genre in a mesmerising manner. Tracks like '3D Country,’ 'Cowboy Nudes' and 'Gravity Blues' serve as odes to the genre, as exemplified in their live jamming performance with their gospel-style backup vocals and vocalist Cameron Winter’s strong, emotional and uncanny country twang. This invigorating performance colourfully evokes the scorching Summer climate and the grand Southern US landscape, as depicted in the album cover.
Yet, the album is more than a simple Southern rock recreation and revival. Despite the album having a glance of the classic Southern rock formula and elements, the band still manages to add something new creatively. The opening track ‘2122’ is a stirring and reckless journey through various sections with different rhythms, dynamics and moods. ‘Mysterious Love’ features a heavy-metal-esque roaring instrumental performance and Winter's fiery shouting. In terms of lyrics, the album's tone is apocalyptic and poetic, even containing religious and mythical references at times (such as “Kali Yuga,” “Osiris,” “Baba Yaga” and so on).
3D Country is no Lynyrd's Second Helping, however, the band's dazzling musical experimentation mostly succeeds in coexisting with the classic Southern flavour. The aggressive and fiery guitar riffs and instruments are carefully incorporated into tracks to avoid spoiling the flow of the concept. The lyrics as well, which Winter calls "existential and ambitious," actually fit great with the story of the wandering cowboy in ‘3D Country’ and ‘Cowboy Nudes’ and its musical depiction. Indeed the band sometimes goes too far and deviates from the concept, however, they never disrespect the genre and bring more exhilaration to it by transcending the style.
In a So Young interview with Reuben Cross, the frontman recalls the band's career; "we’ve come in with a lot of optimism and wanting to work hard, but we’ve also introduced money and stakes to our friendship, which is really poisonous and scary in a lot of ways ((…) It’s a lot, and it’s not the life some people want. The ups and downs are very extreme, but at the end of the day, we’re learning so much musically and that’s the most exciting part. What we do have is this blind and foolish musical ambition to make it really good and keep moving away from what we’ve already done." Nostalgic yet progressive 3D Country is Geese's aspiring, unpredictable and sophisticated project, and it is exactly what defines the band at this moment as they become more confident and comfortable in their sound.
Edited by Akane Hayashi, Music Editor