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Geographer

Myth

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That's myth not as in "lie" but as in legend, as in apologue, as in huge and life-affirming and epic in that Greek way — or at least that's what's surmisable, even less than a minute into Geographer's second full-length, when the percussion drops on intro track "Life of Crime," and shimmery synths give way to big melody and swelling strings. It feels like an anthem already, and you're only 25 seconds in.

This is what Geographer's good at, of course. It's telling that the San Francisco trio's electronic-inflected indie pop has a long history of being used in movies, trailers, and TV shows: it works in much the same way, say, Arcade Fire's does, by making smart use of instrumental layering, driving builds, and soaring, relatively simple melodies. It's great, but it's not always surprising — which is why it's nice that the band stretches itself a little on Myth. "Blinders" almost sounds like a synthed-out Eighties dance track ("Tainted Love," maybe?) save for unexpectedly sludgey guitars; "Vesijarvi" feels about as static and ambient as these guys will ever get; and "The Dream Has Faded" doesn't even employ anything but a spare synth beat and lead singer Mike Deni's vocals — sounding more and more like Robin Pecknold every day, by the way — for a full minute and ten seconds before ballooning into hugeness. That's progress, guys. (Modern Art)

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