Whether they know it or not, Fergus & Geronimo are recreating the sixties music scene with every effort they put out. Denton, Texas’s Andrew Savage and Jason Kelly started their career together by itinerantly releasing singles on different labels. (Redolent of the time of 45’s, if you will.) This year, they boldly jumped into the LP era with their full-length debut Unlearn. If they continue the sixties trend, they will soon become a psychedelic blues band, then drift into concept albums and drug problems before eventually regrouping to play Live Aid.
I bring up the sixties not simply as a matter of format. The era of AM radio is evoked by the very sound of Unlearn, an album that resounds support for the recent indie trend of engineering records that sound like, well, records. Fergus & Geronimo are unique, however, for being one of the few acts that are actually served by this technique. The album is excellent. Unlearn captures the attentive, exploratory composition of that time period. More importantly, the eleven songs never lose cohesion despite exploring different styles on every track. It sounds like a collaboration between the Velvet Underground of Loaded and the Zombies, expertly augmented by some of the I-V-chord punk ethos ruined by overusers like No Age. All the weapons in F&G’s arsenal, from the dripping Spector reverb to the whimsical lyrics, suit Kelly and Savage’s assertive songwriting. “Baby Don’t You Cry,” “World Never Stops,” and “Girls With English Accents” update the Creation’s proto-punk, while they show off some rhythm on “Where the Walls are Made of Grass.” There are moments that drag too long, but largely the album’s quirks are self-aware. On the whole, Unlearn reeks in every way of a stinking pile of accomplishment. I can’t wait for the coked-out triple album to drop.