Fergus & Geronimo

Unlearn

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AllMusic Review by

Fergus & Geronimo's debut is a weird one to be sure. For their first full-length, Jason Kelly and Andrew Savage take inspiration from early Mothers of Invention-era Frank Zappa, specifically the doo wop and ‘60s psych of We’re Only in It for the Money, and perform it in the slovenly indie rock vibe of the duo's lo-fi Woodsist and Hardly Art peers. Somehow, these clashing styles work well, as do the lapses into ramshackle ‘60s garage rock. Unsurprisingly, with its many twists and turns, Unlearn seems aimless at times, but it’s all held together with an underlying slack-jawed simplicity and knowing smirk. “Girls with English Accents” is a flippant, spot-on attempt at imitating the British Invasion, and “Wanna Know What I Would Do If I Was You?” mocks hipsters with the same biting sarcasm that Zappa used against hippies on “Who Needs the Peace Corps.” However, when they’re not incorporating flute and sax solos or taking the piss in other ways, Fergus & Geronimo specialize at playing rough-and-tumble reverberated rock & roll -- like Tyvek, or a looser version of Harlem -- and always manage to pull things together with a keen melody. This is no easy feat when you’re pushing boundaries so hard. While Savage and Kelly clearly get big kicks from genre-jumping and trying to trip out listeners, “Baby Boomer,” “Michael Kelly,” and “The World Never Stops” show that they can rock earnestly as well.

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