Geese (Partisan Records, 2023)
If you don’t listen too carefully, 3D Country—the sophomore record from Brooklyn-based indie rock band Geese—might be mistaken for the type of country rock album you throw on during a boozy summer bonfire. It’s an easy mistake to make: Geese channels all sorts of classic Americana over the span of the record, from Springsteen-esque anthem rock to gospel-tinged crooning to a little bit of Funkadelic on the supremely catchy “I See Myself.”
Singer Cameron Winter’s theatrical vocal contortions, running the gamut from Mick Jagger yelps to a goofy baritone, are the first hint that there’s something more going on here, but by the time opening track “2122” descends into musical chaos, everyone should be in on the joke: Geese has come to bury nostalgia, not to praise it. But it doesn’t hurt to revel in the ridiculousness in the meantime.
3D Country is centered on the story of a cowboy wandering through the desert on a sort of vision quest (under the influence of psychedelic drugs) and watching his world unravel. Themes of disintegration and loss of identity are front and center, as on the title track, where Winter sings, “The day the cowboy cried and I gave up on love / And you gave up on light, and so began my second life.” He dials up the intensity even further on “2122,” bellowing, “When the Ragnarok comes down and the sun and moon collide / we can make love in the end times.”
Pairing such melancholy, apocalyptic lyrics with music that’s satirically bombastic is a tough needle to thread, but Geese manages it. Through it all, the album’s cowboy protagonist ascends from country cliché to holy fool, one who is able to inspire joy even while looking at a bleak existence. In a world that seems to be falling further apart by the minute, this might be just what’s needed.
This article also appears in the October 2023 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 88, No. 10, pages 19-21). Click here to subscribe to the magazine.
Image: Geese, 3D Country