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Poor Genetic Material - Here Now CD (album) cover


Poor Genetic Material


Crossover Prog

3.88 | 14 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars POOR GENETIC MATERIAL is like the carpenter with 12 toolboxes, each highly specialized, who cannot remember which toolbox does what, so has to open all of them. Luckily, this seems to delight the listener while apparently not aggravating the carpenter nearly as much as one might expect. Embarras du choix. Put another way, they have about 5 lead instruments give or take, because, after all, Phillip Griffiths' voice could swallow up about 5 average prog vocalists, if he didn't have flawlessly good taste that is. Lyrically erudite as well, he either insists on or is aggressively encouraged to bring in his dad Martin of BEGGARS OPERA fame at least once an album who manages to simultaneously raise the bar and make Phillip sound better! Oh dear I suppose that makes 6 instruments doesn't it? No matter. Open up the boxes!

Thematically, "Here Now" seems like the antonym and antidote for predecessor "Absence". The here and now is all we have, and, particularly in the centerpiece "The Garden" (sung by papa who name checks my favourite Beggars Opera track), the present has the capacity to be anything but a gift to the more sensitive among us. But who says we can't create our own, better reality, even if just for a vacation, or an evening for that matter? Musically, "Here Now" kicks off simply, with a string of shorter and progressively better tracks that converge while remaining well demarcated. As before, the group plies its trades comfortably at the intersection of simple and complex melodies, verse chorus structures and variegated suites, spacey ambience and funk, chill and edgy, solos and ensemble. My personal favourite is the touching "Note from my Younger Self", the complete package encapsulating all of the above.

In typical PGM fashion, all will be revealed in time, in my case almost 6 months, not that I think I have it, or anything figured out for that matter. But I can tell you that the arrangements, in particularly how Pia Darmstaedter's flute comingles with each other lead as called for, continue to mature, which might not be a requirement for this fan, but, inasmuch as it makes the band more likely to stick around for another decade or so, I'm all for it. Oh yeah sorry, I am just happy they are here now.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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