'Well, I just can not tell one from the other', Geographer's vocalist and founder Michael Deni pours out on 'Lover's Game', 'that's the way it's got to be.' For a guy having experienced a few personal setbacks and family losses along the way, it's no surprise this type of acceptive and melancholic burden finds its way into the upbeat shift between indie concert halls and electro disco halls the band's sound continuously squashes and squeezes its presence between. But this is a statement that rings far truer in the wider aspect of this partly-rock, partly-disco fusion that are the independent electro-rock-pop bands of the past few years. And it feels that it's closely coming to the point of saturation and realization that this hopeful ascension of body-moving rhythm and hopefully passionate tunes may all soon expire. 'Myth', Geographer's follow-up from debut 'Innocent Ghost' continues the trio's familiar weighing of cavernous guitar strums against the fog of synths and sequencers in a way that much rather stands at the far corner of the party, keeping to itself, instead of going centre stage in aspiration for attention.
It's hard to see it that way considering how 'Life Of Crime' builds up its clutter of drums and squirming pulses of electronics as if some wallowing little animal, wrapping itself around Deni's echoing tone and address, but still longing for anyone and everyone to spot it straight away. Likewise, when the guitars take priority on 'The Myth of Youth', the sound gives the impression of yet more kiddish optimism sparkling and sprinkling amidst the layers of strummed strings and rattled drums. The track begins to seep into more traditional 90s Alternative here and with it there is a sense of an overtly-defunct means to excite or energize.
True, drum-kits are used in as equal measure to drum machines on this record, but where you would expect the synthetic equivalent to simply fill the empty percussive gaps, and instead envelops with chapel-sized drones amidst callings of Deni's lyrics - 'Kaleidoscope' a wash of fragranced beats and chillingly hollow echoes - drums of physical manifestation sound and feel at times a little misused and, above all, derogatory. It's thankful then that 'Lover's Game' keeps the balance between beat and solidity in cue with the track's coarse guitar and piano drops. It's a testament too to how such simple and charismatic catchiness, you'd most likely find within the pop settlement, can only exaggerate Deni's tone of voice from just being acceptive or woeful as his tone constantly, but interestingly, does so well in doing.
'The Dream Has Faded' only adds to the growing anxiousness behind these sounds. Cold treading of keyboard playing and simple bass-laying beats pave the way for a more rampant affinity of something that comes across as wanting to be a lot more happier or better off in the long-run. It's uncertain whether the band want the vocals or the instruments to speak portions here, but there's little doubt in my mind they've found their nestling ground for proclaiming such warning intrigue in vast substance. As the album progresses, the guitars get more raunchier in their advancement, the drums become more intwined, whilst the synths and layering of echo and reverb only add to the tense abandonment left amidst the empty space around these calling vocals.
Even when stripped back to purely knob-turning synthesizers and expanses of voice, 'The Boulder' proves the innocence and, as we realize, the weakened innocence in this band's sound. Even when the drums seemingly attempt to revive this melting of ambience back into solidity, Deni's floating of voice and words only thin the song until it transcends beyond such simple progression, fizzling and wavering out into a mumble of crystalline specks. It feels almost daunting, but overall more straining as to figuring out whether this a good or a bad end to things, that 'Kites' allows a chirping of retro beats - sounding like something straight out of an old arcade game or home PC - to lead the falling of percussion and fuzz of guitars prolonging the widening expanse of clouded air left as a result.
Myth is indeed one to come back to, but not because it has anything immediately captivating or responsive in large portions. There are some straight-out superbly-executed tracks here, but there are more that make you question whether this an upbeat album in regards to its message and/or its emotional lenience. But that's what makes it enjoyable; it's nothing analytical, but it does bring about the feeling that maybe not all glittery mixtures of synth and sound have to be so blindly giddy or passionately hoping to gluttonize on the idea of being happy for the sake of being happy. Geographer don't exactly strike me as the next gloom-mongerers or bringers of bad news, but above all else, they do strike me as a band who put more thought into the reasons for their sounds. That, and a little consideration for how the World around us may react to it.