Chances are you've never heard of Mark Geary. But honestly,
Mark Geary is without a doubt one of the greatest songwriters you've
never heard. Like David Gray in the 1990s, Geary has been criminally
overlooked, but consistently turns out some amazing records that sell
a few copies to the few people on the planet that are already hip
to his jive. Like Gray before him, Geary began his career releasing
albums that were very basic, focused more on his songwriting than
on large-scale productions and glitz. Like Gray before him, Geary
has turned from a fierce, angry, independent songwriter to a more
relaxed, beauty-focused writer
one listen to opening track "Cold
Little Fire" is proof of that. Gone is the immediate fire of
the songs, replaced by a more mature, countrified sound that allows
the ear to hear softly, rather than with the almost punk-like ferocity
of his earlier records. "Angel" has a bit more of the relaxed
AAA sound than his previous works, but a deep sincerity of the kind
that is sorely lacking in most of the genre. "See-Saw" has
rhythmic percussion solidly carrying the beat while Geary's voice
has a hint of Glen Hansard in its beauty, while "Atrophy"
has a simple sound, more vocals and fingerpicked acoustic guitar,
that reminds more of Josh Ritter's early records. Opium
wraps with the amazingly dynamic quiet of "Wake Up"
the track has light keyboards behind brushed drumming and beautiful
guitar work, sounding just a bit like Peter Bradley Adams.
If all of this sounds good to you, and you go out and get yourself
a copy of Opium, then I suggest you backtrack a bit and get
yourself copies of Ghosts and 33 1/3 Grand Street while
you're at it
because just like David Gray before him, Geary
did his best work in a fierce, minimalist state; acoustic guitar and
voice making for the strongest and finest songs someone with this
much talent can turn out.
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