Wednesday 26 June 2013

Frozen Geese - Geese On Ice

Album review by

If you're familiar with the band Geese then you're probably already aware that Frozen Geese is essentially the same set-up, with a little bit of a deviation in their sound. It's the band's third album under this particular moniker and they describe it as "easy listening music for generations X, Y and Zee". Except it's not, because that's crap like Ben Howard and whoever's currently doing the best job of trying to sound a bit like Adele. No, 'Geese On Ice' is ambient sound exploration for fans of space-rock, shoegaze, dreampop and other associated genres. This is music for the generation that don't fit the letters that are given out as sweeping generalisations, in fact this is easy listening music for a generations of alternative music fans who don't fit in. So that probably means us.

When an album starts with a song called 'The Opium Eaters' you know it's probably not time to get the disco lights on and the glow sticks out. Let's throw a few names into the mix to give you a basis for what to expect: Spectrum, Galaxie 500, Ulrich Schnauss, (non-pop) Kraftwerk... you know the score. This is easy listening and it is in a druggy way at times, but its clean. It's not a smack album, it's a pure and elegant record. That opening track is a rarity in that it contains persistent drums below the swooshes of sound and later the synthesised brass section (although there is trumpet on the album, so maybe this is trumpet with effects?); it verges on the motorik but doesn't quite go that far. The name '246-319' doesn't paint such a picture but maybe there is meaning to be found somewhere. It has a basic beat and repetitive guitar and electronics; you're left thinking of Sonic Boom again.

What follows is more sedate. 'Let Me Go' is vintage, quivering electronic textures and retro-futuristic, space-age sounds. It would be at home on an experimental '70s ambient album. 'The Dolphins' is an interesting one and sees the band indulge in some proper easy listening with jazzy leanings (plus the trumpet here is definitely the real deal). They really chill things out on 'Red Fish', a song that is at times so subtle that it's barely there, and 'Blue Fish' is like a Spectrum drone with strange vocals being played over the top. Suddenly the term "easy listening" seems incorrect. This is still ambient but not necessarily comfortable unless you're used to these kind of sounds. 'Let Me Go' is almost an instruction to the previous songs, and those strange atmospheric pieces are replaced with a song that has actually lyrics and everything (plus major use of flange). Whatever your taste, this lovely number is surely a highlight. They end with 'Herb's Pump' which, well we would say unsurprisingly, but it probably is a surprise, features a bloke called Herb playing a footpump. It's an unusual ride is 'Geese On Ice', but you certainly take in some fantastic sights along the way.

Frozen Geese's website

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