There are bands who have something that sets them apart from the crowd - a spark of brilliance, a dash of vivacity, perhaps. Alongside these and other characteristics, the crowning glory of such acts is that, whatever stage of their career they find themselves at, they sound like they're having a damn good time.
Gengahr are one such band. It might be jumping the gun a bit to call them the 'saviours of British guitar music', or anything along those lines, but it must surely rank amongst the finest guitar-driven debut album to be coughed up by British music thus far in 2015. Redolent in places of Blur ('Bathed in Light'), others of the woefully under-appreciated Yuck, ('Lonely As a Shark') in others (such as in the intro of recent single 'Heroine') of - whisper it - Feeder.
'Heroine' has already plastered itself all over the radio in recent times. It jingles and jangles along before leaving you with an entirely pleasant sting in the tail as Gengahr bare their teeth to lovely effect. Throughout, the vocals of Felix Bushe, Hugh Schulte and Danny Ward dovetail, culminating in a great finish.
Bushe's serene falsetto often offers a sweet counterpoint to the squalls of guitar he and John Victor provide. 'She's a Witch' and closer 'Trampoline' benefit particularly from the application of this most underrated of guitar effects.
It's rare in 2015 to hear a collection of what are, to all intents and purposes, radio-ready pop rock songs given so much space to breathe and develop, as intricate drum patterns from Ward are followed elastically by Schulte's bass, and what would otherwise be perhaps easily-dismissed pop melodies are bathed in layers and layers of at times extremely aggressive guitars.
'A Dream Outside' offers ample proof of the theory that albums which sound as though they were fun to make are often a joy to listen to. This is savvy, intelligent music.
Words: Haydon Spenceley
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