Raw Geronimo is a band of the NOW; a wide-eyed yet street savvy product of the delirious cultural copulation that is life in Los Angeles in the second decade of the new millennium: utopia gloriously smashing headlong into dystopia.
Effortlessly bridging the unlikely musical gaps between the lush, ethereal, idiosyncratic nature of Kate Bush, the flirtatious punk pop of Bow Wow Wow and the corralling spirit and eclecticism of Roxy Music, Raw Geronimo is led by the industrious and spritely multi-instrumentalist Laena Geronimo. Her pedigree as the progeny of a gifted Romanian singer/songwriter mother and drummer father (Alan Myers of Devo) is undeniable. Here, Geronimo finally sees her writhing brainchild come to its true fruition after years of veteran time spent both in countless DIY punk/experimental groups and holding down bass playing duties for contemporary girl-group darlings The Like. Raw Geronimo is the inevitable result of all the pent-up energy her poised, salivating, tiger-like heart hosted while pent up on the front lines. Fully ripened in this sense, she broke free to put together the ‘raw’ (you can see where this is going) elements of her long burning vision to create the aptly named combo you see before you Geronimo insists that the sextet, consciously and purposefully comprised of an equal ratio of boys to girls, is very much a collaborative effort – a complete fist rather than a single middle finger.
Raw Geronimo’s debut LP, Dream Fever, was recorded by Mark Rains at The Station House Studio in the band’s initial place of conception—the heart of Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood. Initially conceptualized as a more straightforward document of the energy of Raw Geronimo’s volcanically climactic live shows, which successfully foil inclusive aggression against exuberant, bubbling joy, the LP emerged as something much more expansive once the floodgates opened.
Dream Fever hits energetically similarly as an already-coveted punk/new wave record. The album’s opener, “Lose My Mind”, is a call to arms to erase the brain, replete with the kind of fierce, herky-jerky kiss-off sentiments native to Elastica and early Divinyls. “Faustine” is a serene post-punk gallop, and “Chinatown” is a hardcore punk health-conscious Dadaist absurdity. The group goes Martin Denny-esque exotica when Laena’s lazy hula-croon explodes into the chorus of “I Wouldn’t Mind” with wailing Bjorkian exuberance. “Pep Rally” is Bermuda Triangle primacy; equal parts intimidation, bewilderment, surrender, and bliss. There are vengeful catty call-outs (“Bitched,” “Manic Cruiser) and a climax of stacked howls that mirrors the adrenaline rise of ancient ritual sacrifice (“Birds Eye Bonsai”). Album closer “Magnetic Love” is drenched in a sorely needed wash of hope, but is far removed from any trappings of naivety. As the album’s outro-prayer gestures listeners to trudge onward, one can envision closing credits traveling up just as surely as celebratory champagne bubbles.
RAW GERONIMO is…
Laena Geronimo – vocals
Shannon Marie Lay – rhythm guitar, keys, backing vocals
Vug Arakas – lead guitar, backing vocals
Lance Piebenga – bass
Michael Rudes – drums
Lauren Fay – percussion
S O U N D S