So, no red carpets, then. No exultant fanfares, no gilded balloons and no artfully scattered canapis. For all their delicate theatrical swagger, [a]Geneva[/a]’s return to the live forum has been a distinctly diffident affair – a flourish-free three-date jig in support of equally-modest new album ‘Weather Underground’. But then the spat between the spectacular and the ordinary has always been at the heart of this most peculiar of bands.
Tonight, however, it’s clear that progress has upended their more baroque leanings – with dancified beats and booming samples suffocating all but the most strident of songs. It’s curious to behold: an awkward attempt to update a quaint formula that – when coupled with Andrew Montgomery‘s choirboy croon – is so incongruous, so odd, it almost works.
‘Killing Stars’, for one, apes the ace glitter-ball jive of latter-day Blondie, while the bleeping, buzzing intro to ‘Museum Mile’ is less a Zeitgeist-grappling techno-jaunt and more an enthusiastic nod to glacial ’80s popsters A-ha. Elsewhere, unfortunately, this vaunted ‘new direction’ seems to dictate merely meatier guitars and less polite tunes – a design that leaves bloodless trudges like ‘Amnesia Valley’ floundering in their own mediocrity.
Only the cape-swirling dynamics of ‘If You Have To Go’ remind us of their once shimmering promise; a sweetly simple swoon that proves musical advancement can scupper the purest of intentions and that, for [a]Geneva[/a], less is definitely more.