Thursday, August 1, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Raw Geronimo - Dream Fever

Appropriate for a band hailing from the bustling, diverse Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Raw Geronimo sound assuredly eclectic on their new debut LP Dream Fever, packing a lot of musical ideas, and a lot of style, into its 38 minutes. The sextet, led by multi-instrumentalist and versatile singer Laena Geronimo (daughter of recently departed Devo drummer Alan Myers for what it's worth) has a couple 7"s under their belt, but it seems they've let loose with both barrels on the first full-length, leading to a whole that at times feels a little over-produced, but is never uninteresting.

After the poppy, purpose-stating opener "Lose My Mind", the album careens off in a number of different directions, including the Elastica-like morality tale "Faustine, the candy-coated punk of "Chinatown" and "Bird's Eye Bonsai"'s sultry faux tribalism, which owes a rather large debt to Bow Wow Wow (at times, Geronimo's brash voice even hews pretty close to Annabella Lwin's). There are plenty of other ingredients in Dream Fever's percolating mix, like some syrupy girl group balladry and a dose of glammy sneer, but, somewhat remarkably, it all hangs together rather well, united by a sense of fun and a bristling teenage energy.

As a debut, it makes you wonder where they'll go next (though an overstuffed first record can sometimes foretell the dreaded sophomore slump), but as it stands Dream Fever is an enjoyable summer outing, one with both credibility and crossover appeal. However, there are a few moments, such as the otherwise rocking "Bitched", where there might be a little too much polish, where Raw Geronimo could be a bit more, you know, raw. That's a relatively minor quibble with an album that's well worth a listen, especially one that pulls of so many other tricky balancing acts so well.

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