So many things go hand in hand when you describe post music. Deep-running concepts with dramatic, narrated passages, epic highs offset by sunken, sullen lows and countless emotive climaxes intersected by last-gasp crescendos. These are all the cogs that are found in that well-oiled wheel that keeps our beloved post-rock relevant and moving in the right direction. They are all part of the formula that make this style of music deeply personal, purposeful and ultimately meaningful.
And with all that in mind I want to talk about Fargo. The Leipzig based four-piece, who were founded back in 2012 (and featuring a new guitarist and bassist since 2017), have all these qualities I mentioned above racing through their veins. So where do you go next, when you want to make more of an impact and somehow elevate your sound to another level? Maybe go back to basics, and go closer to home? Well, with Geli, Fargo have done exactly this by writing about topics close to home, both logistically and emotionally. Geli is four tracks brought together by four cities, all connected through one amazing woman.
Geli was the nickname given to Angelika Zwarg, mother of two close friends of the band, who was also an art teacher and painter. Sadly, she died in 2018 after a long illness, but her art will live on, and Geli’s work now illuminates the album cover with her painting, “Dark Houses”. The four tracks on the album are named after four cities in Germany, which allows the band to feed their knowledge and connection with these cities through music.
The opening track, Dresden, hits you square in the jaw right from the outset with thundering drums and heavy-set riffs that quickly fade into lightly plucked strings and sombre-struck percussions. A gentle rise in tempo and atmosphere leads the track along a rich, warm passage of soft bass guitars and brisk, quick fire rhythm guitars, before exploding once more into a turbulent and hostile wall of angry bass cords, menacing licks and distorted vocals. A great opening track that has the weight and heft of Russian Circles, with the melodic soundscapes of Explosions In The Sky.
Regensburg begins crisp and clean with a proggy feel to it, with this infectious synthesised scratch behind the melody, that adds that quirky layer to it all. The contrast between heavy and light is showcased brilliantly here with those meticulously timed drums and those great big guitar swells breaking and crashing off the softer, more placid passages, ebbing and flowing from start to finish. Berlin follows it with plenty of reverb and drone-like atmospherics. Lone, remote cords play through the ether with more of those metronomic drums pacing the track, keeping it all tight and compact. Mighty riffs power through those sharp, vivid lead solos which seem to zigzag like lightening across the berlin skyline before coming to an abrupt and inevitable end.
Fierce and fiery bass cords set the closing track, Pforzheim alight right from the start. Its flames dance and flicker over thumping mid-tempo drums, gloriously uplifting lead guitars and down tuned rhythm guitars. Melody strewn and full of intensity, the music gets diluted into the closing narrative of Winston Churchill’s famous 1940’s war speech, ending a track and ending an album that has absolutely everything you want from a post rock album.
Fargo have reignited themselves with Geli, and have also managed to remember and dedicate its raw and near combustible beauty to someone close to them. With a release date on March 17th, through the brilliant Kapitän Platte, Geli is a must have for all post music fans. And for any of you who would like to know more about Fargo, and this incredible album, stay tuned to The Smashing Skull Sessions in the coming weeks!.