Reminiscent of Wild Beasts and Anthony (or Anohni) from Anthony and the Johnsons, GENGAHR took to the stage of Sneaky Petes with little in the way of stage presence, albeit technically proficient. Feeling a little like I had time warped into the 90s with fringes that hang into their eyes and a t-shirt that screamed bring back Kurt Cobain I got the vibe that there was a little too much reference and influence on stage, rather than four experienced lads comfortable in the skin that is Genghar.
Relatively elusive with a clutch of new songs, the four piece previewed new material penned for their highly anticipated follow-up album, headlining Edinburgh’s intimate student-friendly venue. Gengahr hail from London forming at Stoke Newington School in Hackney in 2013. Their name is a play on Gengar, one of the original Pokémon, appealing to all of those Go fans. Comprising of Felix, John, Danny and Hugh, guitar, bass, drums and vocals, there is a definitive indie pop sound to their noise.
Frontman Felix Bushe’s lyricism draws upon the darkest corners of both the supernatural and the more grounded. Breakthrough track Fill My Gums With Blood, for example, is a tale of “a little boy vampire who falls for a girl” whilst Powder’s instrumentation thaws around a wistful pondering on death.
With signs of potential they are not there yet. For one the crowd more interested in hearing the sound of their own voices over Bushe’s dulcet tones (or maybe they are all playing Go). However, that is not to say the fans are not present; I can also hear a baritone section somewhere in the audience accompanying the singer.
With a few psychedelic moments to their set, which is dominated by guitar heavy pop, they are clearly technically capable. However they have yet to tighten and develop their own sound, but this sounds promising. The bass heavy reverb along with the structured riffs work but the drumming and vocals at times seem out of sync, until we hear Embers. This is where Gengahr peak with fantastic instrumental din that exposes their talent in drumming, guitar and vocals as all are given equal weighting with this track. Often the others lend themselves to the lead singer which albeit quaint, twee, nice, whatever, they sound more interesting when all working as a band intermingling the singing with decent noise.
Concluding with head-turner track, She’s a Witch, the band left their fans in much suspense for new material, as it certainly seems that they are acquainted with their present work judging from the bellowing that surrounded my ears. I look forward to hearing more from this band, as I am sure their 2017 release will see a tighter incarnation. One to keep an eye on.