Fergus and Geronimo – Unlearn

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Almost two years ago, I caught Fergus and Geronimo here in Austin; they were just visiting from Denton.  Everything they did on stage was energetic and sharp.  A few 7″s came our way, and now the band have released their debut, Unlearn, for Hardly Art.  After honing their chops, it seems like the band have finally landed on some consistency with their sound, and it’s one that fits in with the modern scene.

Kicking things off with “Girls with English Accents” is a solid way to start off this record.  It’s got a little bit of psychedelic twang in the guitar lines, a repeated chorus line, but it’s the verses that demonstrate my favorite parts of Fergus and Geronimo. They’re sort of off-kilter and unhinged, all done in a playful manner.  Then you move right into “Wanna Know What I Would Do,” which has great elements, yet doesn’t quite fulfill the promise the morning.  Really, it’s just one part that sort of gets me in a funk, and it’s the delivery of “hahahaha.”  Throw that in with some loose lyrical focus, and you can see that at times, great songs get in the way of the band’s playful approach.

Fans of the more R&B influenced garage sound will find a gem in “Powerful Lovin,” using that crooning sound you’ll find on King Khan and the BBQ Show releases.  At this point, you’re bound to appreciate the band’s tendency to sort of shift all over the place, using a great deal of musical diversity to provide a great deal of listening diversity.  “Unlearn” is similar in this fashion, though it introduces a bit of spoken word from a female counterpart.  Part of me is reminded of listening to my mother’s classics from the doo-wop era of classic rock, and that’s not a bad thing by any means, mind you.

Fergus and Geronimo‘s bread and butter though seems to be their more amphetamine influenced jams.  “Baby Don’t You Cry” fits perfectly in with the likes of Ty Segall or a dirtier version of Nobunny.  Beneath it all lives sweet bubblegum pop, but it’s coated in abundant energy, giving the sound a bit of garage stomp, almost as if the band is hanging on by the seat of their pants.  “The World Never Stops” is another such jam, though it does have a nice little instrumental breakdown in the middle that really takes the track to the next level.  Perhaps it is just a hint of restraint, but it’s enough to give Unlearn yet another nice twist in the grand scheme of things.

Fergus and Geronimo have shown a lot of promise through the release of their 7″ work, and through that of their live shows. Now that they’ve got Unlearn out here for the masses, we see that talent come to fruition.  Styles are traded in and out from the get go, letting you get a taste of the band’s influences.  Sure, it’s a bit disjointed at times, and next time around the band might put more effort into the lyrical development, but this is one hell of a start from a band we truly think will do excellent things.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Fergus-Geronimo-Girls-With-English-Accents.mp3]

Download: Fergus & Geronimo – Girls With English Accents [MP3]

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