Geese – Projector

Wake Up A God

Photo Credit: McCausland for The New York Times

Projector (n.): an object that is used to project rays of light, especially an apparatus with a system of lenses for projecting slides or film onto a screen. Alternatively: one who projects their insecurities onto an ever-changing, challenging world. Geese frontman Cameron Winter plays with this dichotomy at-length lyrically throughout the Brooklyn quintet’s immaculate first studio release. “Now I’m the only good man left on earth/So why don’t you want me?” Winter croons on the title track. Spoken like a true projector. There is often a sense of mythologizing that happens within the New York City rock scene wherein the larger narrative of music genealogy leads to mental mapping of generational forebears and the descendants; to that end, Geese are undoubtedly the next generation of New York City rock. I happened to be fortunate enough to be there in-person at the secret album release party at Baby’s All Right , where the five piece proved once again that they are the Empire State’s rightful indie heirs.

The nine track LP runs a tonal gamut spanning from lively, to disaffected, to wistfully introspective. Debut single “Disco” is yet another frantic, masterful entry in the larger pantheon of first singles by a band that absolutely get it right fresh out the gate, and the seismic, climactic build-up and payoff was a sure sign of Geese’s staying power. That initial single drew in the eyes of many critics who lauded the band’s refusal of standard verse-chorus-verse lyrical structure in place of a more cinematic romp through the woods, into an abandoned house, and up the steps into the ancient attic. “Low Era” and eponymous “Projector” complete the trifecta of pre-release material that built upon the strengths exhibited on “Disco.” Somber, self-serious introspection, and grit-teeth instrumentation are found at every turn, with Winter simultaneously emulating his indie heroes, and stamping out his own unique voice. Perhaps no greater display of their synergy as a band can be found on the immaculate “Fantasies/Survival,” a fully-formed beast of a snarling track in which guitarists Dom and Foster set out to make their fingertips bleed.

The tail-end trio of “Exploding House,” “Bottle,” and “Opportunity is Knocking” (the latter of which namedrops the title) form a mosaic of whiplash performances that crescendos with Winter musing aloud “Is this the end?” Eagle-eared listeners will be thrilled to know that the opening and closing chapters of Projector form a perfect feedback loop wherein the final notes of the album bleed effortlessly back into “Rain Dance,” as if to suggest that the process of projecting is never quite over. Through and through, “Projector” remains one of the very finest albums of 2021, and one of the most untouchable debut records from any band this year.

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