Review Summary: A beautiful and profound record from an unknown band.
Genaro is an underground Scottish band, playing a distinctive blend of shoegaze, straight-up alt rock, and power pop. While not drawing large-scale attention as of yet, the group has found a home within Benbecula Records, an indie record label renowned for its strong roster, heavily focused on the electronic scene within Scotland. Therefore, Genaro’s more traditional rock format represents a significant change of pace for the record label. However, the band’s self-titled album, released in 2011, demonstrates succinctly why the label was so willing to ignore their general genre confines and seize a new opportunity.
The sound Genaro presents here is highly distinctive, and results in a truly cohesive release. The band relies heavily on clear guitar chords, usually presented in a shoegazing fashion. Over the top, the characteristically-Scottish vocals soar distinctly, addressing a wide variety of topics, mostly melancholy in nature. From breakups to bittersweet nostalgia to the threat of nuclear war, the lyrics here are poignant, if not overly sophisticated. All in all, Genaro’s work here can also be categorized as poppy, at least to an extent. Most of the melodies here are not unlike the instantly-accessible examples which are abundant on pop radio, although for the most part the band evades of the blandness which frequently accompanies such displays.
Ultimately, Genaro demonstrates on their self-titled album that they are a young band with the potential to shake things up. If simple, most of the songs here are quite gorgeous, and often emotionally-potent as well. The upbeat but ambiguous “Breakout” is a clear highlight, as is the grimmer “Dark Corners Of The Mind”. “Friends To The End”, meanwhile, is perhaps the greatest track here, a heartwrenching ode that seems to capture sonically the essence of many bittersweet situations, and perhaps even of nostalgia itself. Finally, the downcast and elegant closer “Throw It Around” ends the album’s journey in a fitting manner.
It can truly be said that with this album, Genaro has created something truly distinctive, even if it is far from flawless. With its intriguing blend of bleak lyrical content and beautiful instrumentation combining the best aspects of shoegaze and power pop, this is very much an astounding work, when listened to under the right circumstances. Having only discovered this under-the-radar release recently, I can only imagine that this would be a particularly ideal choice for jamming on a clear, cold winter’s day.