Thursday, 16 February 2012
Geoff Farina - The Wishes Of The Dead
Album review by KevW
This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com
Given that Geoff Farina's career thus far has consisted of being the frontman in 90s experimental alt-rockers Karate and one half of indie duo The Secret Stars, it comes as a slight surprise to note that his first solo album in a decade is about as cutting edge as Spongebob Squarepants' bollocks. 'The Wishes Of The Dead' comprises of ten songs chronicling a year spent living in a small town in Maine, and the influence of rural Americana is plastered all over these tracks.
This feels like a deeply personal record. Not in a 'bearing your soul' kind of way, more in a 'he might as well be sat opposite playing just to you' kind of way, such is the stripped back nature here. This is nothing more than gently plucked guitar and vocals, recounting stories gathered from the setting of the album's creation - from the struggles of the area's first settlers, to heroin addicts and modern warfare. The simplicity can be quite off-putting at first, the songs taking several listens to reveal their true colours, and while more variety and vigour may initially seem to be the missing ingredient, it's worth remembering that 'The Wishes Of The Dead' is a product of its environment and the traditional playing is entirely by design and inspired by the region's older generation of musicians.
Therefore, this isn't going to be a record of mass appeal and a cursory listen to a couple of tracks will generate little in the way of a wow factor, but it's worth sticking with the tunes and allowing yourself to absorb them. The overall feel is warm, homely and full of character, albeit borrowed character, but that seems to be the point. 'The Wishes Of The Dead' feels like a tribute to a place, its people and its traditions, and in that respect, despite at first seeming tame, Geoff Farina has hit the nail right on the head.
Geoff Farina's website
Buy the album
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