Don't be turned away by the album cover! I assure you, this review has absolutely minimal content involving werwolves. Probably. I'm actually writing this introduction prior to finishing the last fifth or so of the review, so it's entirely conceivable I could change my mind. Let's assume I don't so that I can talk about the excellent debut from the French alternative rock band Seed from the Geisha, titled Talk Peace to the Wolf.
Seed from the Geisha occupy some interesting musical territory. On one hand, they are unabashedly pop-oriented with their music. All of their songs have a readily-accessible alterna-rock structure to them that makes each track catchy and memorable. You could easily hear their music playing alongside hits from mainstream rock bands like Incubus or popular heavy metal acts like Disturbed. Yet at the same time, their music has clear progressive influences; their use of non-traditional song structures and unusual time signatures in an easily-parsed manner is reminiscent of later works from Radiohead. The result is music that is not only easy to enjoy but actually interesting as well. They are like Coheed and Cambria in that they have a clear dedication to the complexity of their music, and yet it is still designed for a commercial audience. The only difference is that listening to Seed from the Geisha is actually satisfying.
“Radiance” is a particularly standout track. It's hard to find a more perfect combination of beautiful guitar and sweet strings. All of the riffs and melodies in the song are amazingly strong, from the 5/4 verses to the anthemic choruses. The cathartic chanting of “reach for the sky” will bring you to your knees with its beauty. And yet, as if to hit us purposefully with the stylistic shift, the next track, “Deliverance,” is a relentless metal rocker, complete with harsh vocals and technical guitar work. “One Knee on the Concrete” is just as heavy and dirty, recalling 90s era grunge music with its earthy riffs. The electric opener “Heads or Tails” fits neatly in between on the spectrum; they're heavy and aggressive without being impenetrable with their sound. “Feather” even gets into more complex territory, shifting back and forth between tempos and stylistic intensity without losing its musical unity.
It's hard to single track on this album as being weak—each song really does hold its own against the rest of it. You could easily hear it many times over without getting bored. This is the kind of alternative rock work I wish I could hear more often; enjoyable from start to finish and never letting up. Every single track here is engaging and intricately composed. Without a doubt, this is probably the most satisfying 41 minutes and 10 seconds I have heard all year.
9.5 / 10
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