Album Reviews

Genaro – Genaro

(Benbecula Records) UK release date: 9 July 2007

Home to Christ (not the beardy one who’s really famous and got his own book and everything) Benbecula Records is more commonly putting records out by artists dabbling in the electronic arts.

Genaro sees the label heading off in a completely different direction. This four-piece from Glasgow are about as far from the wibbly, skonky world of noughts and ones as is possible to get.

The label claim that this is pop territory but in reality Genaro are miles away from the pop genre too. After all pop music generally has a way of sounding a little bit fake. Not only that, but once you’ve got over the whole plastic consumerism of it all, pop is also capable of plastering a smile on your face and an itch in your heart.

Not that Genaro aren’t capable of finding a place in your heart, I can guarantee that they most certainly will. It’s that place that seems to twang like a detuned banjo string when you see that girl you fancied for years laughing and joking with her husband down the pub while you sit there and imagine what could have been (which to be fair, in your mind rarely gets much further than a quick fumble in the back of a car).

The problem with reviewing a CD like this is that it can resonate too much. I’ve tried for ages to get past Breakout (track five) and have found it a massive struggle. The refrain of which: “breakout, don�t you want to go sometime and leave it all behind” will no doubt appeal to the amateur depressives among you.

I had to stop myself loading up a camper van and heading off to Wolverhampton in order to write this review. Sweeping guitars and perfectly pitched vocals handling such aching lyrics make it the stand out track on the album. It’s simply beautiful; a song that sets Genaro apart from so many others trying to make those deep and meaningful ballads.

This album then is not pop, it is far too deep for that. There’s plenty of acoustic guitar on show here, but it’s been intelligently woven with a bass that feels like it’s drenched in fine malt whiskey and keyboards that lend an other worldly element to the songs; and then there’s the lyrics. If you’re going after the pop market you have to write in an ambiguous way (what the hell was Yellow all about?).

On Friends Till The End we’re told that vocalist Craig Snape’s brain is too stoned, and he can’t think when he speaks; something we’re fairly familiar with. In addition this song doesn’t imagine that all our relationships will last for time immemorial. “I can’t pretend that we’ll be friends till the end, though I wish we could be” Snape sings, it breaks your heart but you know how true (and often unsaid) this statement is.

This album is steeped in emotion: it is absolutely everywhere, from the lyrics to the almost post rock songs that build gently into a stunning but usually unforgiving landscape. But what a landscape, bleak and pastoral it may well be, but Genaro make you want to stay there for ever.

This may be Benbecula’s first foray into the world outside of computers, but they’ve found something truly special in Genaro. This is a band that is built to soundtrack the breaking of hearts and the healing of wounds.

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Genaro – Genaro