REVIEWS:: THE GEESE SMALL BOAT EP
All too often in this age of indie collectives, you get bombarded with songs steeped in layers so thick the melody and intricacies are lost, along with any spontaneity. The desire for epic sounds leads overproduction and a polish that takes away the heart of the songs or a muddled combination that makes it impossible to feel your way through.
Thankfully, when it comes to The Geese – a folk collective from New Brunswick that recently moved to Vancouver and changed their name from The Family Band – the songs on their EP are full of ramshackle and creativity. Each of the five songs are loosely held together by the shared members but almost nothing else.
The opening number – Le Beau Risque – is a beautiful, bilingual track full of mandolin, drums, acoustic, female vocals and spirit; a clever song from Quebec to the rest of Canada disguised as a back and forth between two lovers, the track sounds like it could be a standard from years long since past but the foot stomp beat that darts in and out and the cymbal washes make the song feel alive. The band does an abrupt turn on Zachari’s tender Ancestors, a heartfelt tale about family and love. The piano, long bended notes and gentle picks held complete the cozy setting Zachari sings about, but right around the 3-minute mark, the band adds some playful hand claps to refocus your listen. It’s only for a few seconds, but it shows complete control of sound.
Each of the five songs makes an impact, and could stand alone but it’s the way the potential and talent the collective offers that really excites me. The songs are heavy in emotion, but the band manages to keep the whole affair fun.On the spiky New Brunswickers, the lead vocals, sing shout chorus and percussive stomp could be slipped into a Bruce Peninsula set, but the band uses strings and accordion to soften the impact.
By the time they experiment with some heavier, almost Crazy Horse inspired electric work on the country rocker, Frustration, you are left wondering if there is any style they won’t fuse into their sound. The song, obviously, doesn’t crank up the amps and distortion but the slight bit of muscle works well and as they fade into another mix of electric and accordion on God’s Children you realize the 17-minutes of music leaves your completely satisfied, and you wouldn’t change a note.