Condre Scr: You Are Genius
Oxide Tones

Even for those whose taste doesn't run to post-rock, Condre Scr's You Are Genius would still be hard to resist, given that the Berlin-based quintet's concise, thirty-seven-minute recording blazes with such potent melodic fury that even the most resistant instrumental rock listener would find it hard to deny. A follow-up to the group's 2006 self-released debut Jar Marsen, You Are Genius distances itself from the competition in the strength of its compositional writing, which is then taken to another level in the immolating wail with which it's delivered by the (unidentified) musicians involved. At the core of “Bogatell” and “Ask the Ones You Know,” for example, are affectingly melancholic themes that the band deploys as springboards for some serious high-volume shredding.

Aside from the songwriting, the band's chief selling-point is its luscious guitar sound, which appeals whether presented in quieter form as delicate and crystal clear or in its louder and more raw form. It's a sound that isn't, in fact, painful but glorious, and even, at certain moments, verges on cathartic. In keeping with the genre, there are the expected episodes of soft-loud drama and explosive peaks, but there are also unexpected deviations from the script, such as occurs during “The Excellent Cook,” a beautiful, guitar-generated dirge that almost omits drums entirely. The piano-based interlude “Jerome” likewise offers a break from the otherwise more intense goings-on. To these ears, the only weak element in the Condre Scr sound is a relatively listless drumming style that doesn't so much boost the energy of the music as drain it. A more dynamic and aggressive percussive attack would be better, rather than the slo-core feel used throughout You Are Genius. Condre Scr's songs aren't as well served by that style as they should be and, frankly, deserve better.

March 2012