Credit: OK McCauseland/NY Times
by Andrew Bosma Music Obscure Object

Geese | Projector

November 26, 2021

Projector relies too heavily on sonic referencing, but is a highly listenable debut that holds promise for a more singular future for Geese.

Fresh out of their senior year of high school, Geese comes ripping onto the scene with their buzzy debut Projector, a post-punk album replete with all the genre’s classic elements. A few surprises are immediately in store for anyone coming in blind: first, that this confident work is a debut album, and additionally that it’s landing in 2021 and not 2001, with its grimy rock sounds sounding closest to the early New York indie scene. It might be a futile vibe to catch, as it revisits a cultural moment that came and went before the band members were even in kindergarten, but in its pursuit, Geese makes something that can be considered relatively interesting at the very least.

Were you to distill the sound of every popular rock outfit of the early aughts, you would notice a few similarities. From muted guitar tones to mucky frontmen that look freshly plucked from the gutter, there’s plenty of obvious overlap. While Geese does tend to lean directly into these clichés, there’s a reason they’re so drawn to them, and a reason they so resonated in the first place. In a world of polished pop stars and the gross misuse of nostalgia (looking at you, Greta Van Fleet), it’s almost refreshing that a group of late-teens are trying to remake something akin to Is This It. The biggest detriment to this approach is that such an effort will make it as far as mimicry, stopping short of adding any new songwriting elements, and it’s here that Geese elevate themselves to some degree, distinguishing their tracks a bit by imbuing them with Talking Heads-style hooks. Sure, it’s but another bit of derivation, but the blend of these two classic sounds ends up endlessly listenable and certainly worthy of a foot tap or two. It also benefits the band greatly that they are all already experts at their respective instruments, opting for a tighter interpretation of the loose-sounding bands they sonically reference. Still, this kind of work has a definitive ceiling, and Geese repeatedly hit it without ever managing to break through.

There’s a conversation to be had about “bringing back” an era of music in the modern age. It seems not particularly long ago that Geese would have been heralded as instant greats, propelling them to an unbelievable degree of stardom. Now, they seem quirky, a band destined for the worst people possible to point to and say “Look at these guys, making REAL music.” Obviously, speaking to this insufferable demo isn’t the band’s fault, as they clearly are just playing what they love (and doing it well), but it does leave an unfortunate after, whether intentional or not. But setting that extra-textual cynicism aside, Projector is a worthy introduction to the band. What they’ve accomplished in their first time out is an eminently listenable record of genuinely fun tracks and melodies that stick, which is an achievement no matter how you frame it. For now, It’s best to just enjoy the vibes, with hope that the next album adds more singularity to the band’s limited but interesting commencement.

Published as part of Album Roundup — October 2021 | Part 2.