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Gengahr - Where Wildness Grows (Album Review)

Wednesday, 14 March 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

Gengahr’s sophomore album, ‘Where Wildness Grows’, arrives three years after the London indie-rockers’ refreshing debut, ‘A Dream Outside’, and following several false starts. Early recordings were rejected in favour of starting over, with extensive touring and the ensuing tiredness taking a toll as they looked to capitalise on an excellent opening move. So, was the wait worthwhile?

Lead single Carrion was certainly a powerful statement of intent, moving from an eerie opening to an enormous chorus, but rather than give us a taste of a potentially great album, it now appears to be a case of playing one of your aces early doors.

The anti-love song Is This How You Love only highlights that fact. It’s a weaker effort based around a rather insipid guitar hook, dreamy Scritti Politti-style vocals from Felix Bushe and backing from Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell.

Another guest, the folk artist Billie Marten, has more to work with. Her vocals on Whole Again complement Bushe on a far better song; a slower cut that benefits from sounding less rushed than many of its companions.

That more considered approach seems to work well in other areas, too. Shimmering guitars adorn the richly melodic title track, while the ballad-like Pull Over (Now) fleetingly recalls Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn.

The more up tempo numbers are much more of a mixed bag. I’ll Be Waiting blends pretty guitars at an energetic pace, along with crystal clear falsetto vocals, but we’ve had to wade through three uneventful songs to get there. That dampens the enthusiasm.

The band’s glistening guitar work is a major pull, but too often it’s not wedded to anything of substance. Opener Before Sunrise has a main riff that doesn’t leap out at you, while Burning Air’s much heavier hook fails to hit sufficient heights to warrant repeated plays, becoming almost grating in the process. Rising Tides, too, has flecks of those glassy guitars but fails to go anywhere of note.

Following on from impressive first outings is always a difficult thing to do. While ‘Where Wildness Grows’ has its moments, it lacks the promise of the debut and enough consistency to achieve longevity. A disappointing sequel, then, but also a collection that doesn’t find Gengahr evolving. Ultimately, we’re left wondering if they ever will.

Gengahr Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat April 21 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Think Tank?
Sun April 22 2018 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Mon April 23 2018 - GLASGOW King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Tue April 24 2018 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Thu April 26 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Hare and Hounds
Fri April 27 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Sat April 28 2018 - BRISTOL Thekla
Sun April 29 2018 - SOUTHAMPTON Joiners
Mon April 30 2018 - CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
Wed May 02 2018 - BRIGHTON Haunt
Thu May 03 2018 - LONDON KOKO
Fri May 04 2018 - CARDIFF Globe

Click here to compare & buy Gengahr Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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