Geographer - New Jersey
Geographer has always made interesting and complex music. Their brand of indie synth-pop can bring to the highest heights, but at times it can also fall short of the high standards they set for themselves. Main songwriter and producer Mike Deni has made some stunning tracks in the past and managed carve out a little space just for his particular sound. It is reminiscent of Panama or How to Dress Well, where the soaring male vocal doesn't have to be particularly high to truly fly. "Summer of my Discontent" ticks all these boxes with pounding electronic drums and a bridge that never lets you down. "Love Is Wasted in the Dark" is another passionate plea for both acceptance by your significant other and the realization that perhaps you might be the reason things go wrong. It's a hard look in the mirror, but one that feels imbued with tons of emotional baggage. Geographer has felt these things, lived these ideas and you can feel that coming from every single note. The production here is also quite wonderful like the back and forth violin that opens "Stolen Liquor". It just cuts right to the core of the song without adding to many flowery strings in the background. The record has a real nighttime vibe to it where everything feels a bit slicker and smooth under the neon glow. However as it seems to be with all Geographer albums there is another gear that He just never manages to shit into.
New Jersey at times has these really wonderful moments, but then at others it leaves you scratching your head. This is only seven tracks long and 22 mins but there still feels like there is a lot of fluff and unnecessary moves. The album also flows in a somewhat awkward manner moving between 30 second interludes and over five minute tracks. Things just feel a bit jumbled and thrown together with the usual flow Deni brings to his albums somewhat disappearing. That's where all of his records tend to land, some moments that are stunning and make you add them to a playlist instantly, but others just miss the mark. I love some of the tracks here like "Summer of My Discontent" and "Stolen Liquor" but they aren't enough to keep this album from getting into the weeds. It's too bad, but unaccountably that seems to be the norm for Geographer.
5.8 out of 10