If you’re looking for what ‘modern doom’ sounds like, it’s here, perhaps not quite in the guise you’d think. Far from a stoner metal aesthetic, Brooklyn’s Geese have made a weirdo indie-country hybrid set against distortion, fantastical violence and a whole smattering of uncomfortable laughs on their second record where nothing is to be expected.
Already making waves since their outta-nowhere debut Projector, the next stage sees the five-piece going multiple miles down the road of experimental rock. 3D Country can be summed up by its cover’s upside down man backdropped by natural disaster, silly recklessness amongst genuine chaos, or as frontman Cameron Winter puts it: “Younger people make jokes out of the fact that human extinction is on the horizon, and that’s kind of beautiful.” Duly, the band looked no further to gain that feeling of fun out of freakishness than producer James Ford here, most known for his work with Sheffield-nightlife-veterans-cum lounge-act-on-the-moon Arctic Monkeys and disco revivalist Jessie Ware.
Getting involved without pause is apocalyptic opener 2122, a bamboozling call-and-response that mimics Creedence Clearwater Revival covered by Primus (of course!). Just for a bit anyway, then the album’s trademark jaunty rock-in-a-blender mode takes hold before discombobulation of destroyed instruments. It’s a remarkably bizarre hoot instrumentally, and throughout it’s tough to pinpoint whether Winter is just fucking around. With vocal acrobatics to rival the likes of the chameleonic Mike Patton, there’s no limit to his explorations of babbling noises, crooning, breathlessness, hymnic gospel and whatever else.
Remarkably every choice works, while the album’s character-driven tales are as vivid, emotional and bonkers as a season of Adventure Time. The title track’s anthemic chorus feels remarkably soothing amongst Winters’ morbid descriptions of “what I saw could make a dead man cry”, as a renegade returns home via meandering dirt plains and frothy streams mimicked by the ringing guitar work, ever-building rhythm sections and dramatic piano stabs. Not just from name alone, Cowboy Nudes continues to skew folky Americana complete with an outrageous bongo solo from Max Bassin who throws in other cheeky drum fills like nobody’s business. “New York City, underwater, yeah!” feels all the more harrowing since the recent discovery of the metropolis island sinking under the weight of its giant skyscrapers, even if Winters’ energy seems to channel a drunken prophesying madman.
Many a time, those bleating Winterisms take centrestage, harmonised and tastefully backed by rogue jazz-fusion (I See Myself), while echoey vocal chops, screams, and a rollicking good time make up the seemingly more straightforward bop Mysterious Love. It’s upfront about musings on the troubled understandings of love, with the similarly literal Crusades offering up bluesy swagger and religious pomp set during the medieval holy wars. Tomorrow’s Crusades takes elements from both, seeing mythological terror—“Well I have lived in furious ages, I’ve seen it all / Ten headed dog ate up the people, swallowed ‘em whole”—foiled against a love letter to a much-missed romantic interest.
If you can think of any other left-field nonsense, it’s probably portrayed in Geese’s box of tricks. Undoer is an unwinding centrepiece, a proggy jam session complete with noises that sound like dying trumpets, farts, or cuttings from the Crash Bandicoot soundtrack. Its erupting moments spring upon you like the musical equivalent of Tim and Eric’s Spagett. That main riff is Jimmy Page-esque. After all, Bassin notes that “it feels like going to the circus and instead of having a good time, everyone is trying to kill you” and that mood culminates pretty perfectly in the creepy helter skelter closer that is St Elmo.
By the end, it’s one of the strangest listens you’ll get, even by 2023’s standards when times are pretty damn weird. The young group have already transformed hippie sounds, doom-mongering, demonic vocals, choirs and a whole lot else into such a clearly defined package that it could only be Geese that made it. Not the animals, but this comes remarkably close to the sound of a gaggle armed with guitars. What the hell next?!
For fans of: black midi, Horsey, Viagra Boys
‘3D Country’ by Geese is released on 23rd June on Partisan Records / PIAS.
Words by Elliot Burr