Geese learned their lesson: New York City is so whatever. While their much-hyped 2021 debut, Projector, struggled to stand out among every other Brooklyn band doing Talking Heads and Television, 3D Country is a pivot out of CBGB and into indie rock’s Day of the Dead era. Traces of jittery post-punk are still present, but this time, the band lightens things up with sunnier and proggier hues. It turns out Geese are more inspiring as a glamping jam band than a slick post-punk outfit: They sound bright, colorful, and at ease, with their goofiness now on full display.

From the opening “2122,” vocalist Cameron Winter immediately sounds liberated—and ridiculous. Like a horny shaman yelling at the Grand Canyon, he summons an ecstatic bellow to call upon idols from Ancient Egypt (Osiris, lord of death and rebirth), a questionable blend of Hinduism and Slavic folklore (“Voodoo Balarama Baba Yaga”), and Norse mythology (Jörmungandr, the World Serpent). Instead of boxing in their more expressive singer, the rest of the band rises to his level. Guitarists Gus Green and Foster Hudson throw dueling “War Pigs” riffs and a banjo into the mix. Bassist Dom DiGesu and drummer Max Bassin provide the needed consistency and structure. Rather than projecting a united front, Geese are now a band of distinct voices racing against each other, resulting in an album full of gleeful chaos.

Geese still make intricate rock music, but there’s a newfound emphasis on dynamics, space, and, most crucially, melody. The first half of the record is especially strong. “3D Country” slows the tempo and allows listeners to catch their breath, and the addition of background vocals and piano adds some much-welcome depth. “Cowboy Nudes” is effortlessly carried by melodies that anyone could sing along to. Later, “Tomorrow’s Crusades” incorporates wedding-ceremony strings and Winter’s falsetto—“Where would I ever be without you?” he sings in a rare moment of straightforwardness—to earn the distinction of being the first Geese song that can be called pretty.

Things fizzle out around the middle. By the time we get to “Undoer” and “Crusades,” two slow burns that forget to burn into anything, Geese revert to noodling. Their comfort zone speaks to the jam-friendly pivot: the built-in understanding that most of these songs will probably sound better live than in the studio. “Maybe the last record was our teenage angst and 3D Country is our newfound twenty-something arrogance,” Winter suggests in the press material, where he also claims that 3D Country is about modern doom, climate change, and perseverance through ambient dread—themes that will only be apparent from a close and generous read through the lyrics. While their influences are all over the map, it’s encouraging to hear Geese getting more comfortable sounding like themselves.

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Geese: 3D Country