Geographer - Myth
Record Label: Modern Art Records / Bicycle Records
Release Date: February 28, 2012
The year is 2008. House of Heroes has just released The End Is Not The End, a record (as a small band) that will define the rest of their careers. The album presents a near perfect look into what a pop-rock band should sound like. House of Heroes was a great band before the release, but they were then propelled into new heights from which they will never look back.
We arrive at 2012. Geographer is at the same point as their industry counterparts were in '08. Myth is just the album they needed to put out to solidify themselves in their field, and to gain the respect they deserve. Vocalist Mike Deni, combined with Berklee School of Music grads Nathan Blaz and Brian Ostreicher "…tried to make every note count in a way we didn't necessarily do before," says Deni. The record feels like a dream come true, both for the band and the listener. We get to orbit the band's spacy personal amphitheater, and the results are astounding.
"Life of Crime," "The Myth Of Youth," and "Kaleidoscope" are the trifecta that will garner your attention faster than a Kardashian tabloid. The latter will be automatically accessible to M83 fans ("Kaleidoscope," not Kim's assets.) The band has simply evolved into nothing short of a chill-inducing weapon.
An evidence of the stunning ambition Geographer possesses can be found on "Blinders." Laced with Sunbears!-like indie aggression, this track will win fence sitters over. A resounding ditto for "Lover's Game" - the most obvious choice for a single on Myth, in which singer Mike Deni laments "There's nothing we can do - we were born to die fools."
Deni's vocals can be closest compared to Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold's pipes. In fact, if you didn't know better, you would guess that Pecknold had assumed lead vocals. With such a contrast to the overproduced vocals that many bands similar to Geographer utilize, Deni's voice stands out. Band member Nathan Blaz never bends his cellist agenda over the will of the song, and drummer Brian Ostreicher gives the extra itch that makes the band so enjoyable.
"The Boulder" demonstrates the muscle of the album, leading into album closer "Kites." A carryover from 2010's EP Animal Shapes, the song is a personal favorite. It provides the album with an immediate standout track, and it sends the album out kicking. I was stoked to see the song on Myth. My only complaint is that the instrumentation feels slightly outside of the sonic scope of the record.
However, Geographer has done a near-perfect job of balancing their sound on this record. This is one of the biggest improvements since 2008's Innocent Ghosts. There are no missteps or miscues on Myth, only unadulterated art for those willing to listen. Producer Eli Crews and mixer Chris Zane have certainly earned themselves standing ovations. To their credit, Geographer is one of the few electronic bands that can hold my interest for an entire album. Magnum Opus may be an overly ambitious term, but as it stands, Myth will be hard to surpass. Watch for the band on AOTY lists: this record is my 2012 soundtrack. Welcome to the future of music.