Title: The Neighboring Sea EP
Release Date: 3/27/12
Reviewer: Carter Fraser
Buy here: Bandcamp
- The Neighboring Sea
- Along The Road
- The Song of the Wren
- House of Love
- For Us Who Are So Small (Alt. Version)
Geology is the indie folk side project of mewithoutYou bassist Greg Jehanian, which might be enough to lure some listeners in right there. Jehanian has been making music with mewithoutYou since 2004 (and with the Operation before that) and has written under the Geology name since 2007. It should be quickly noted though that the mewithoutYou comparisons might as well stop there. Geology takes an entirely different approach on indie folk from mewithoutYou’s latest offering It’s All Crazy!…. The Neighboring Sea is noticeably without the influence of mwY frontman Aaron Weiss, veering away from the Danielson-influenced freak folk ventures of It’s All Crazy!… in favor of a safer, more conventional sound.
Where 2010’s Three Birds EP featured more bare-bones indie folk styles, The Neighboring Sea finds Jehanian exploring a more ambitious direction. This batch of songs is significantly more complex and vibrant, with more instrumentation besides acoustic guitar and drums to relieve some of the burden from Jehanian’s generally unremarkable vocals. Sea is expertly crafted as only a music vet could do, with greater atmosphere and texture than most new indie artists can use effectively. The title track and opener provides the best example of this, with its Radiohead-esque climax complete with ample guitar swirls and vocal harmonies, making it one of the EP’s clear highlights. Not to worry though, Sea is remarkably consistent, if not always streamlined or focused. It is certainly clear though that Jehanian has pushed these songs to their fullest, with no moment not thoroughly developed.
Perhaps the minor weakness of The Neighboring Sea then is the lack of flow and occasional over-experimentation on Jehanian’s part. Not that any of his directions aren’t well done—they just seem a bit too disparate from song to song, preventing the EP from coagulating into a more profound whole. A slightly clearer vision might go a long way. Keep in mind, though, that there’s still a lot to love here; everything from the brooding melody and beat of “The Song of the Wren” to the sun-soaked numbers like “Along The Road” and “House of Love” is indie goodness. There’s ample evidence to suggest that a new full length from Jehanian’s project could be something more overwhelming.
Overall: The Neighboring Sea is another successful EP from the mewithoutYou bassist, showing an even greater potential than his previous efforts. Geology is a project to keep an eye on; if Jehanian could focus his talents into one masterful release it could be something to surely remember.
RIYL: Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, Bigfoot Wallace, mewithoutYou