Geneva Weather Underground

Weather Underground is an adequate sophomore release from this Scottish group, signed to Suede's art-pop Nude label. I have the same complaint with this release that I did with their debut, Further - great singles, but the album as a whole has weak patches. Don't get me wrong, Geneva are a joy to listen to. Their sweeping pop tracks can definitely push all the right buttons, and singer Andrew Montgomery's voice swells to heights that would make the Castrato opera singers wince. Truth be told, he honed his vocal skills at a young age as a choirboy and the layering of his soft pipes really works on tracks like "If You Have To Go" and "Dollars In The Heavens." The biggest change to Geneva this time around comes behind the mixing board. Geneva enlisted the production help of Howie B for the bulk of the album, although prior commitments meant that Catatonia producer Tommy D had to step up to the plate to finish the job. In this case, Howie B's efforts don't totally work - perhaps he is better suited to dub and chilled-out grooves, not rock music. Although interesting, his influence takes away from Geneva's power ("Guidance System" is an exception). The album's best tracks (not to mention the singles), were the ones worked by Tommy D. Regardless, Howie B's influence pushes the sound of Geneva forward and even attracted the attention of one Robbie Robertson, who will use "Amnesia Valley" in on upcoming film. This is an album worth investigating - Geneva have a great deal of songwriting potential, and this is another step forward. (Nude)