Infinite Shuffle

February 24, 2013

148 – Geographer

Filed under: G, San Francisco — assman41 @ 12:01 am

When a band drastically changes its sound from one album to the next, it runs the risk of abandoning fans along the way. But Geographer may have found the key to overcoming this problem.

They’re basically two completely different bands on their two full-length releases. And, while there’s sure to be some upheaval from the early loyalists, there’s also bound to be listeners like myself who are entranced by both stages of the metamorphosis.

In the beginning, there was Innocent Ghosts, the 2008 debut from the San Francisco trio. It’s filled with great indie-pop songs that are as catchy as they are melodious. Lead singer Michael Deni mixes his vocals beautifully throughout the record with a mysterious female singer. And it all melds well with the instrumentation of Deni (guitars, synthesizers), Nathan Biaz (cello, synths) and Brian Ostreicher (drums).

The standout tracks include “Can’t You Wait”, “Each Other’s Ghosts”, “Atmosphere”, “Wonderful” and “The Morning”.

Then, two years later, came the EP, Animal Shapes, which totally shifted the soundscape. Gone were the female harmonies, and in their stead was a huge influx of electronic flavor.

Suddenly, Geographer had gone from a really catchy indie-pop band to one of those indie-electro outfits that are more of an acquired taste. They’d basically become Yeasayer Lite.

But it turns out their songs are still accessible and not nearly as annoying as their Brooklyn counterparts. All six tracks on Animal Shapes are solid, with “Night Winds” taking top honors.

Geographer continued on this electronica course with the release of their second full-length album, 2012’s Myth. It’s not as strong top-to-bottom as the EP, but it definitely has some standout tracks, including “Shell Beach”, “Life of Crime” and a longer, better version of “Kites” than the one on the EP.

Geographer was recently in Chicago as the headliner for Family of the Year. I would’ve loved to have gone, but, alas, it was sold out by the time I became interested in it. Maybe next time.

The good news is they’re already back in the studio working on new songs.

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