Geoff Kerr – Proximity Effect

Genre: Alternative
Released: March 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh

I keep encountering Metal in my search for new music, probably because YouTube noticed I like it so they keep showing me it. The downside is that sometimes I want to try other things. To Bandcamp to scan what is new… I found this.

Geoff Kerr is local-ish. Well, Melbourne is only 18 h 46 min (1,781.9 km) via Pacific Hwy/A1 and M31 from us here on the Gold Coast. That, however, is not why I picked this record up.

Initially, I thought this would be an Electronic record because of the cover so almost passed it by in my search for some great modern Pop. Lucky I read the Alternative tag and hit the play button.

The very first thing I thought when I heard Geoff start singing was The Smiths. There are some similarities but it certainly isn’t a Morrisey/Marr thing at all once you give it a minute.

No doubt you are listening and hearing a nice, slightly jangly Alternative Pop with a straight, clean singer. Nice. Really nice. It is sad but nice, clear, unaffected voices in Pop (and every style pitching to it) have essentially been absent for a decade or so whilst we strangle in those ghastly faux emotive stylings that were the fallout legacy of emo.

This clarity takes me right back to mid-to-late 80’s Alternative acts as this sounds very Australian, in a good way. Think Aussie Deborah Conway after she left Do-Re-Mi and went solo and more acoustic. Except of course Geoff is more of a man type person.

Many of the songs have that nice slightly shimmery slice of life feel with lyrics that leverage off simple daily events and springboard them into the feelings side of the equation.

The songs are pretty darned well written and stand close enough to some of the greats of the style. That is also a great thing these days as sadly the craft of making & delivering those magical moments that really make music are rather lost arts. But not here. This album is initially subtle but is also a grower as you separate the curtains of sound and meaning.

0012890794_10.jpgSadly there is no Bio on Geoff at all and Google is not overly helpful as the name is a wee bit too common so I can’t give any background on him as an artist. This appears to be his first release but with his apparent age and the finesse on show here I suspect there is a long history and maybe even a semi-known band or two in his history.

The record is $10 in Oz Dollars which may be just a tiny bit on the steep side seeing I can buy commercial CDs from physical retailers for the same, but at the same time the quality of the music is really high from songwriting, performance and mixing so there have been some costs along the way for this 55 mins of Art. If you like this record, and I hope you do then it is not an unwieldy ask for what you get.

I heard a lot of this sort of thing in my heady 4ZZZ days (incl. the infamous Market Day Riot which I left just as it was starting – darned yobbo/skins trying to collapse the tents) but rarely bought a lot as my interest was in different directions. That said I do have some things that sit in nicely with this:

The Best of The Triffids is odder at times but is in the same overall space. Equally the Best of Weddings Parties Anything is more folky sounding but still has that slice of idealized Aussie life in the songs. Not Drowning Waving’s “The Little Desert” is more ambient but encapsulates that sense of poetry of the time (the opposite of The Angels toilet-wall humor anyway)

Geoff has made a great record here that I am delighted to have found. It becomes more detailed and more orchestrated as it goes with simpler songs at the start and the denser ones later. Probably a really good pacing as all too-simple and it can wear thin.

As Molly Meldrum of Countdown (our music show) used to say “do yourself a favour”…