Genuine Bush – Sitting On A Bench In The Middle Of A Scattered Mind – Album Review
I am really going to have to take this one with a grain of salt…and perhaps an aspirin. Alright…so here’s the quick backstory in a summed-up sentence…you always want to make sure that your music is both easily accessible, and at the quality you want it to be when sending it out for a review. Chances are, the easier you make it on the person reviewing those tunes, the more likely they start the process in a good mood, leaving only the music to destroy that on rare occasion. Make it tough for them…they might start out grumpy…which I’m not saying I am…I had sought out the music several days ago now and I’m over that…it’s all been fixed up…Genuine Bush was in the middle of re-launching their official site & designs. As a person that’s been through that himself in these past couple months, I certainly understand the difficulties as people pop in at different times to find different results as things are being updated. Like I said…it’s all fixed up now…all is forgiven.
Alright…so we’ve got a lo-fi, more than likely DIY project here. Again, never a problem for us here at SBS, certainly not for myself…I can still HEAR you when you all write great material, or bad, despite any limitations that any of us face through production. There are a lot of limitations here that are going to stop a lot of people from being able to play this through, which again in my opinion is too bad. I get it, but it’s a shame either way…the most amazing music I’ve heard in my life might never find its way to a shiny studio…and I couldn’t care less. The substance of the actual material defines the song…and if you’re LUCKY…no matter where you record, hopefully the production can become part of the magic.
But in the case of some songs…let’s say, the opening track when you pop open this new album Sitting On A Bench In The Middle Of A Scattered Mind by Genuine Bush and start to listen to “Addiction Lodged In My Head,” I still believe that there are some things in production you just don’t want. In this example, there are random, ill-timed bursts of static. And at this point…a decision needs to be made. Like many of the songs I’ve found here on this album, there’s a great idea in the background here, just dying to get out. But these bursts are so random you have to question whether or not this is an error when posting the song to the new website…like maybe a glitch in the encoding process…I’m hoping something like that helps to explain this. If not…at the very least, no matter how good that idea might be…my suggestion would be to stuff that to the back of the album; first impressions matter, and after this one I’m bound to question every motive Genuine Bush have for filling space with sound.
Because if this was a conscious choice…it’s not only a weird one, but again, one that could potentially kill a good idea, of which there are many on this album. It’s definitely a start. If you listen to the next track “Believe In You,” you should still be able to hear what I can hear…this is almost like the same caliber and quality of the released Nirvana demos, or early Foo Fighters before Dave Grohl declared them official. There are a ton of good ideas here…and again, sometimes production works to your advantage no matter how good or bad; I like the open-hall vibe in this track…it lets that wonderful guitar-line in the verse just drift hazily along.
While tracks like “Dark Days,” can reveal just how new Genuine Bush might still be to all this, the knack for shrouded melody is unmistakable. Over time and practice, timing issues etc., that stuff can work itself out…ideas are much more rare and impossible to teach. Listen to the opening riff in “Keep Going,” and the way the vocals come in with the chiming guitar…I dunno…you can call me crazy if ya wanna, but there is definitely SOMETHING here…like puzzle pieces partially assembled offering an outline of what the picture might look like later on.
Well low and behold. I did mention Nirvana earlier right? “Losing Precious Time,” borrows massively from this famous little tribe…unmistakably so. This would be one of those dicey decisions to make as well; come time to put out your album…you want to attract comparison, not always direct comparison. This song opens that can of worms right up for Genuine Bush; thankfully through the vocals, they attempt something different with this familiar riff and turn it into something closer to what The Dandy Warhols might come up with one late Friday night.
What does happen over time and tracks like “Sometime” and “Wasting My Time” is that you begin to feel a similarity between those vocals, drifting into a dangerous territory of losing the listener. Like any instrument, there needs to be some highs, some lows…some…something! Even when the tracks pick up like on “We Are So Young,” which should have a singer just KILLING this song cause this is definitely an excellent idea here musically…but instead we have another of the same through the vocals. The thing that makes the monotone singers in bands like The National and The Editors work so well is that they still manage to come out with emotion and conviction even at times where their tone falls flat; that push for a convincing performance is still there every time. I’m at times convinced that Genuine Bush sounds genuinely bored in their own well of creativity, like maybe they made this album with the production it has simply for the fact that they get fifty of these ideas a day and chuck’em like their nothing…I don’t know…I think these songs deserve a stronger performance at times, as this act has shown it’s plenty capable of doing so.
“We Will Rise Above” features another strong riff and great idea from the lead guitar…this one gets really tough to hear through the low-end distorting the overall sound, but I think there’s an idea that works in there… I’m sorry guys…this one is really impossible to make out. Of all the tracks I’ve heard so far…this is the one I think has suffered the most through the rough production…unfortunately, it’s basically unlistenable as is until it hits a slightly softer spot towards the end. I like distortion as much as the next guy, but there’s no possibility of this as an artistic choice…it’s just clearly the early stages of Genuine Bush.
Towards the end, I did find myself again digging the idea coming out of “Wondering.” This track has a real stomper of a drumbeat, psychedelic vocals that bend all over the place and a great guitar line again. Definitely another highlight song for this band, and one that honestly excites me about what this might be like to see live. Kind of reminds me of Vancouver’s own Magik Spells and the raw funk you can find in their live show.
“Days Gone By” has more of the random ill static bursts throughout it. Always good to test out your site and not just post that stuff up without doing so…but believe me, life is a busy, busy place and I’ve been there myself. Hell, I’m sure there’s a word or two in any one of these I’ve written probably misspelt or misplaced…no one’s perfect, and we all need an editor. In part, perhaps that’s what we’re doing for Genuine Bush right now…because yeah…guys…you gotta listen to this one…it is HALF static burst. And like the HELL this album has put me in, once again I can hear a KICKASS idea fighting to stay alive in behind all this. Grrrr. Whoever is RUSHING this band and telling them that the new Genuine Bush album needs to be on the store floor by opening next Tuesday needs to STOP.
Ahhh. I see. It’s here to stay now. “We Will Be” also contains the same unbearable mask of static. And that’s it for me Genuine Bush…I’m out for now.
I can’t get help but get frustrated when I feel like people have rushed themselves too quickly to the studio, or too quickly to the boards after getting protools…but we all have to start somewhere. At least Genuine Bush has got some ideas – I can’t even claim to have had those when I first started. This sound needs a complete sandblasting into refinement…but I wouldn’t give up on these guys just yet; there is something here.
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