Cementing their exclusive sound in a nutshell, She’s a Witch was the first experience I had of Gengahr on their debut album, A Dream Outside and to put it simply, I am embarrassed that I hadn’t listened to them sooner, (minus 10 indie points for me). Soothing yet engaging, this gentle-driving groove eases listeners in with finger-picking twangs of the guitar and an introduction to Felix Bushe’s dreamy vocals that ripple into lines such as, “I’m not gonna miss you/But I’ll always want to kiss your mouth.” As soon as I heard the unbeatably concise and catchy chorus, then followed by a sugary guitar solo, “I listen[ed] on repeat” until my indie appetite was hungry for more.
Touring alongside the likes of Wolf Alice and Alt-J, it was inevitable that Gengahr would be influenced by their wispy vocals and weighty use of indie riffs. Heroine is the perfect example of this as this slow burning track unspools into an emotional turbulence of a heavy driving yet atmospheric bass. Bushe’s ambient drones of, “Sure you can be my heroine, all I ask is that you wait for me”, are reminiscent of a youthful Dinosaur Jr. With its majestic slow motion beats, Bathed In Light is a delicate psychedelic time-lapse of hallucinogenic electronica and mesmeric riffs. Throughout, it is laced with lyrics that are tinged by an undercurrent of darkness, “I try being nice but its only out of spite/The smug in your voice makes me vomit.”
Reaching the half away point in the album, Dark Star is a spaced out instrumental piece which combines woozy drum beats and light percussion that are speckled into the background. Here, Gengahr are showing their ability to tell a story through the textures not the vocals. Opening with shimmering distortion, Fill My Gums With Blood is able to lift the tension from its dark lyrical theme where Bushe questions, “Why don’t you let me in/So I can drink from you?” with the hazy kaleidoscopic melodies and his sedated vocals. This cloudy delight showcases the four-piece’s craftsmanship at work here with its sweeping orchestration and intense insight into the darkest parts of human emotion.
Whether you listen to Gengahr on a dismal train journey or a weepy night bus home, A Dream Outside is timelessly absorbing, so be prepared to get lost.