Listening to Gengahr kind of feels like floating, like being lost somewhere in the deep and gently letting yourself get carried away. Their album ‘A Dream Outside’ is your drowsy summer afternoons, your half closed eyelids, your hangover mornings, the saltwater on your skin, your car rides and the stars you see when you rub your eyes. It’s that kind of great, the kind that makes you all poetic and slightly numb. Gengahr really do have that exceptionally dreamy vibe, which is totally a good thing even if it’s been said again and again everywhere.
Their genre has been labeled as indie rock, trip pop, psychedelic pop, dream pop, all shades of pop, a simple “alternative” on their facebook page… Because Gengahr are a tricky one to describe: they could be just another ethereal indie band but there is a certain disquiet, an underlying tension creeping up beneath. Disturbing lyrics (“the monster I see, grew deep inside of me”) on hazy melodies create this lovely duality that makes the band so interesting. It’s sweet but dangerous, some kind of musical equivalent to poisoned apples and tall dark strangers. Gengahr’s music is a dream, but whether or not it’s also a nightmare is up to your interpretation.
It’s also worth saying that their music videos are all great and visually pleasing. Being a film nerd myself, that’s the kind of thing that makes me love a band even more. Honestly it’s rare for young indie bands to put out such quality content for every single new video.
Gengahr are also a band that enjoy getting their listeners involved in what they do, as in their most recent music video for ‘Tired Eyes’, which was a participative project they built together with amazing contributions from their fans. The latters already form a strong community of people and it definitely showed in Paris, where we saw Gengahr kicking off their debut European headline tour.
Having seen the band earlier in the year, opening for Alt-J, this was the first time we’d see them headline their own show. It was difficult for us to jauge Gengahr’s popularity in the city of love beforehand, but one thing for sure, love was definitely in the air.
As album opener ‘Dizzy Ghosts’ gently faded in, we could already feel the stream of affection they ignite among their listeners and that is something beautiful. Felix Bushe’s delicate singing firmly contrasts with the instrumental electricity, although it oddly forms a consistent, homogenous product, as dreamy and groovy as ever. As we said earlier, there’s always some sort of duality in Gengahr’s music, that is not immediately perceivable, especially on record. It however shows on their live performances, where everything takes a heavier tone.
A few minutes in and we’re already floating inside a bubble. Most of the tracks consist in powerful crescendos and instrumental transitions, that showcase Gengahr’s talent, obviously, but especially the elegance of their musicianship. Bathed In Light, Powder and closing track She’s A Witch, particularly emphasize this aspect of the music.
The room is decently filled by dancing people. Soon enough, we find ourselves sensing a hint of closeness and familiarity with the music that is being played, when really it wasn’t the case before. We take that as a proof of the performance’s success.
Overall Gengahr did impress, particularly giving their young age as a band. They definitly have a bright future ahead of them and we can assure you it’s well deserved.
Words : Andy & Mariam B.
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Photos : Gengahr – Paris (Oct 2015)