For Brighton-based four-piece ĠENN, the new year brings the release of a new single, the second from their forthcoming EP Liminal – but also, a freshening, furthering and more fully rounded version of their sound. The last couple of years have been something of a wild ride for the group, who released debut album Tittymonster back in 2018 and have supported the likes of PINS, The Orielles and Honeyblood. That list’s blend of post-punk and garage largely typifies the sound of Tittymonster, whilst their singles from last year showed other strings to their bow. The new wave-y ‘Duda Dance’ and the grungy, more political ’23rd March’ with its Nirvana-style riff. But it’s their sometime support of psych rock legends Acid Mothers Temple that makes the most sense in light of the strong psych influence on latest track ‘Feel’, which sees the band moving into less angular, and more free-flowing territory.
The track opens with a rattle of drums and picked percussion, settling into a garage-y groove, and the kind of funky bass-line that pops up on many a Tarantino soundtrack. There’s something a little Death Valley fried about the guitar riff that sits over the top of everything as well, resting with an other worldly grace, like oil on deep water.
Through it, Leona’s vocals cut, riding the sonic waves like a yacht. “I can’t see / but I can feel”, she sings in the song’s chorus – typical of the lyrical simplicity of the song (another psych hallmark), but no less effective for it. If anything, this is exemplar of the best things about a genre that focuses on release, often with a side of intoxication – or, as Leona sings: “I’m blitzed / I’m finally letting go”. She gives up on the lyrics and moves to straight-up vocalising throughout the song’s middle eight and its instrumental desert rock-meets-Savages outro. When all the guitar lines and percussion fall away, the last two aspects of the song are Leona’s vocals, barely above a whisper, and that bass-line, deep and enticing.
The video for the track – directed by Leona – features a woman musing whilst in a launderette, finding herself in different locations, intermixed with animation, before walking into a room where ĠENN are performing. It’s a nod to the way that fantasies are often born out of the most humdrum of activities, as well as introducing the surreal fish-headed creature from the cover of Liminal. But it’s also a kind of tacit acknowledgement of the times we’re in: the empty spaces, the distance between people, and the covering of faces (albeit not usually with fishes). Even the sight of a band performing seems somewhat wistful and nostalgic at time of writing. Psych is at heart – about the connection, on a deeper level, between people, across distance, through music. With that in mind, ĠENN might have just found the sound we need.
‘Feel‘ is out now, taken from ĠENN’s upcoming EP Liminal, set for release 30th March via Everything Sucks Music.