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Charlie Barnes: Geekk

Mainstream-baiting prog-pop debut from Leeds troubador.

While Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush have many times been described as progressive pop, it seems somehow counter-intuitive to marry something as wilfully idiosyncratic as prog to pop, itself the essence of the zeitgeist. Nevertheless, the music made by this young Leeds musician ticks both genre boxes nicely.

Geekk is a capricious mix of looping glitch electronica, progressive rock in the vein of Oceansize and post-OK Computer Radiohead affectations. This alone would merit the loyal cult fanbase Barnes has accrued, but in addition he possesses a wonderful voice; he could give Jeff Buckley a run for his money.

This talent is showcased especially on the title track and eloquent ballad Oradour, but it’s the vitriolic Snakes Ladders & Aeroplanes that shows his true quality as a frontman, one able to soar above a loud rock band. Drawing proceedings to a close, live staple Final Call even evokes the calculated majesty of Peter Gabriel’s brilliant So.

In all Geekk straddles the prog and pop worlds nicely. It’s an intriguing first chapter from this talented young man who, on this evidence, seems poised to enact a devastating assault on the mainstream.