Geniuser – I Am (Ahh Ohh Records)
LP / CD / DL
22 June 2018
9.5 / 10
Experimental electronic duo release their new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
Beginning with, and containing segments reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s Barrel Of A Gun (which itself relied heavily on 6 Underground by the Sneaker Pimps), Man Of God from Geniuser instantly recognises their new album, I Am is a work well worthy of their name. Aside from Depeche you’ll also hear shards of Nick Cave, Rob Dougan and Mark E Smith. Described as ‘forward-thinking’, Michael Allen (The Wolfgang Press) and painter/producer Giuseppe De Bellis have crowdfunded their way into one of the finest albums of the year.
I Am skilfully treads the path between experimental and commercial it would seem, completely effortlessly. Find You would have fitted perfectly into Rob Dougan’s 2002 album Furious Angels alongside his own incredible Left Me For Dead, a track of pumping percussion and continuous bass threads which fits superbly with Allen’s croaky, gnarled vocals. The track often rises to vociferous proportion and is addictive, very much so, with this habitual need to hear more continuing throughout the whole album.
The music is impressive to say the least, it creates an often terrifying emptiness in places and a cavalcaded wall of sound in others. The impressive, almost horror sounding Epiphany holds the listener for nigh on a minute with a near ambient feel before spoken word and a moon-stomp beat describe Allen’s personal demons. Jaw-dropping stuff.
I Am will undoubtedly be one of the albums of the year. It reeks of quality and commitment like few albums do and it holds more emotion in any ten second burst than some complete albums do over their full track listing. Can I Can is a tangled web of overlapping vocals accompanied by samples of the Royal Drummers Of Burundi and Agnus Dei (Lamb Of God), the choral composition written by American composer Samuel Osborne Barber II in 1936.
A Thousand Sorrows acts as an emotional interlude, a brooding admission of excessive guilt and regret whilst Monkey is a brutal tale of delusional self-righteousness. Disconnected sees De Bellis provide some impressive electro effects which powerfully blip and bleep over a vigorous backbeat.
Ending with the title track loosely based around the quote “I think, therefore I am” made famous by French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes, I Am is not a great album, it is truly a masterpiece, one of those albums that you never tire of hearing, a breath of fresh air, a genuine inspiration.
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All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop and you can follow him on Twitter as @hiapop, and on Facebook here.