GENEVA Further (Nude)

"Further" is the debut album by a Scottish guitar band that remind these ears strongly of early Suede (with whom they share a record label) and Radiohead - the sort of thing we used to call Britpop, I suppose. Despite clearly being in possession of a hefty dose of seriousness (the cover photo of a barren wintry landscape that suggests a similarity to that on hopeless sadcore act Codeine’s "The White Birch", song titles such as "The God Of Sleep" - come on, you’re not Black Sabbath! - and "Nature’s Whore") there’s something about Geneva that distances them from the rest of the recent pack of white boy guitar bands. There’s the odd prog tendency - the way opener "Temporary Wings" suddenly breaks into the Floyd’s "Astronomy Domine" - that suggests that they may be fashioning sprawling ‘difficult’ works like "Dog Man Star" or "OK Computer" before too long. Sally Herbert and John Green’s string arrangements add a dab of luxury to Mike Hedges production work (which itself is as bleak and drab as that cover photo, although, to be fair, probably not inappropriately so). Andrew Montgomery’s soaring falsetto vocals had me thinking ‘ex-choirboy’ even before I read in the NME that he was an ex-choirboy. And every now and then Geneva stumble upon a stormer of a tune - the chief delights here being "Into The Blue", "Best Regrets" and "Tranquillizer", with its haunting refrain of "Let us be happy while we’re still young", which suggest that, how ever much you’ve heard of and about Geneva thus far, one day you’ll be hearing a lot more. Recommended, especially if you’ve found recent releases by the (post-) Britpop pack a little too weird.