Gengahr – A Dream Outside – Album Review

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North Londoner’s Debut Album Out 15th June Via Transgressive Records

There’s a couple of things which are immediately apparent upon first listen to neo psych newcomers Gengahr’s debut album A Dream Outside. As a whole the group possesses an assuredness that belays the band’s relative youth (their debut single was only released last October), there’s the dichotomy of vocalist/guitarist Felix Bushe’s near saccharine and fragile delivery with his at times dark and disturbing lyrics, there’s the ridiculous over abundance of earworm melodies that pervade nearly each and every song, and the, what seems like, ease with which the whole package is delivered.

Take the near instrumental ‘Dark Star’ which breaks up the record neatly into what would have traditionally been side A and side B of an LP. The bass leisurely bounces along, the guitar chimes languorously, and one could easily imagine the late, great Amy Winehouse intoning forlornly over the whole enterprise. The band sound confident and totally comfortable in their own skin. And that’s only some throwaway mid-album ‘filler’.

Second single and second track, ‘She’s A Witch’ kicks off a trio of songs which encapsulate the group’s way with an effortlessly hooky melody. Delicately plucked squeaky clean electric guitar introduces a track which sports a trotting bass line, and Bushe’s luxurious delivery. ‘Heroine’ follows with a slightly more forceful riff, a pretty damn big chorus which builds to the album’s first introduction of some fuzzed up guitar,a feature the band will hopefully explore more in future. Closing out the trio, ‘Bathed in Light’ reins proceedings in a touch. A mid tempo jaunt, it’s a track that once again possesses a naturally catchy chorus and some wonderfully washed out guitar work. A statement of intent indeed.

The aforementioned ‘Heroine’ best displays Bushe’s covertly disturbing lyrics. As he croons, “You could be my heroin”, you easily find yourself singing along to the pretty delivery without thinking, and yet under that deception lies the uncomfortable metaphor of a lover as heroin. It hints at obsession, corruption, doomed romance, and death. All the while wrapped up in a relatively warm, and uplifting melody.

Later in the album, ‘Embers’ hints what may be in store for Gengahr in the future. A more tense, and upbeat track, there’s more urgency and tension in general here. The bass and drums drive the track while later in the song there’s even room for some intriguing guitar histrionics as highly contoured and controlled feedback give a sense of danger, and apprehension. When Overblown spoke to the band recently they told us, “You can’t please everyone all the time and I don’t think you should.” But, you know, A Dream Outside, with it’s seductive, wishful melodies, and hints at even more to come, should please just about anyone who gives it even a cursory listen.

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