Two years ago, when Brooklyn’s Geese flew onto the scene, it was impossible to not hear their influences running through each track on their debut album. A kinetic who’s who of post-punk, Projector made for an easy gateway for fans of the genre to flock to Geese quickly, setting them off on successful tours across the world.
The five-piece return with 3D Country, expanding their palette of influences to include a heavy dose of Mick Jagger, all the way down to the hip-shaking nature of the Rolling Stones’ more rambunctious tunes like a reimagined version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” or even “Jumpin Jack Flash”, best evidenced by the album’s swaggering title track. Ultimately “3D Country” comes across a tad bloated thanks to the over-the-top vocal performance by Cameron Winter and golden-voiced soul singers backing him up during the chorus, but it manages to work for Geese. It sets an early template for 3D Country‘s unpredictability and oddball choices.
The Stones influence, as mentioned before, is overpowering at times. It creeps in with opener “2122”. The aesthetic seems more stolen from The Kinks’ 60s work at first, but midway through it becomes abundantly clear that Geese are migrating towards this sound – all except for Winter’s mutating warble strutting across the track like he’s Bill Hader going deep in his bag of impersonations.
Geese experiment with the formula admirably, testing their genre-bending capabilities throughout but always furnishing each deviation with warm harmonies. “Gravity Blues” carries on in this joyous manner, with cooing and oohing giving a loving mixture of nostalgia. But elsewhere, specifically the whirlwindy “Mysterious Love”, Geese change gears frequently- it’s no wonder Winter said it was “a dozen ‘90s rock cliches mixed into one little over-produced package”
This change in direction is intentional, which is why the band tapped British producer James Ford. His back catalog is extensive and varied, but recently has been known for assisting Artic Monkeys to reinvent their sound with the divisive Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, as well as well as giving Depeche Mode their best sounding album in years with this year’s Memento Mori.
If there’s a moment that encapsulates this new sound it’s “Cowboy Nudes”, the romping first taste from earlier this year. The band clearly had fun during the recording sessions, playing off each other’s curiosities and managing to find a melody in all of the commotion. Usually this would result in an unbearable experience, but Geese and Ford explore the unexpected with ease on “Cowboy Nudes”, resulting in one of the band’s easiest rockers that still keeps it weird.
3D Country is a fun album, and it gives the band a more definable personality – even if it’s bonkers. Whereas Projector hopped all over the place with shameless influences, Geese keep it pretty broad this time around, adding more of their own strangeness without losing the casual appeal. Cuts like “I See Myself” could end up on a jukebox one day, while the glammy “Tomorrow’s Crusades” comes across as an homage to Queen and Bowie. By refusing to stay in one lane Geese have evolved their sound already, which makes it all the more exciting to see where they go next.