Jacksonville based group Little Geronimo has released their debut full-length album on May 20th. The album, Celebration, showcases the diverse group of influences that the band pulls their talents from. Little Geronimo consists of Brandon David (vocals); David Kennedy (drums) Adam Rohere (guitar), and Turner Payan (Bass). Founded by David and Kennedy in 2014, and they released their first EP in 2017. Over the past five years, they’ve clearly been working hard on their sound.
Little Geronimo defines themselves as “math-pop,” and I found them to be a fusion of pop punk, prog rock, alternative, and a hint of dance. Math rock is usually characterized by syncopation and unusual rhythms, and the band navigated the dozens of cadence and rhythm changes in their album smoothly and expertly. They’re eclectic but not snobby, and the technical side of their musicianship is complex without being overwhelming. The project is expertly produced and mixed by Spirit Vision Records. The variation in themes and cadences have the potential to be overwhelming, but it’s arranged so that all the beats hit exactly when they are supposed to.
Thematically, the album takes you through a relationship’s journey. As the story progresses, you can hear David become more and more emotionally invested. The opening track, “I Think It’s Time,” twinkles in the beginning before Rohere and Payan hit you with classic pop punk guitar and bass. The song moves on to urge the listener to realize it’s “time” to make moves, whatever that might mean. Whether it’s letting go of some deadweight or taking advantage of an opportunity, it’s time. The next track, aptly named “Celebration,” sounds like a song that a bunch of friends could sing together at a party. A jazz-inspired piano underscores the vocals for a fun track about the beginning stages of romance. He’s not sure if it’s true love yet, but he’s willing to give it a shot. The jazz rhythms from Kennedy also make the track bouncy and light-hearted.
The following two tracks “Out of Touch” and “Blunts, Wine & True Crime” are slower than “Celebration,” and you can feel the love David is singing about start to mellow. There are growing pains, but they’re working on it, falling deeply in love by the end of the fourth song. These tracks have a rock feel, with melodic guitar and well-constructed harmonies. Little Geronimo continues to use piano, recorded conversations, whistling, and synth as accents, adding depth to the tracks. The fifth track, “Glow,” has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it. It’s catchy, features complex rhythms overlapping, and bright tones.
The second half of the album is more emotional, a bit darker, and shows a different side of the band’s talents. “Roll Call,” “Old Faithful” and “What to Say” use glimmering guitar melodies to convey the inner turmoil that can sometimes arise when couples hit rough patches. There’s personal growth, which can be uncomfortable, but is beautiful in its own way. “What to Say” ends on a hopeful note, as David assures he isn’t going to give up just yet.
In the middle of those quieter songs, we’re hit with “Faded at the Symphony” featuring Andrés. This track revisits the fun in the first half, moving between musical themes and different rhythms. Lyrically, teases the partner for being jealous while also revealing anxiety about long term plans and looking to the future. The album closes with “I’m Fine,” a hopeful track confirming that despite everything they’ve been through, they’ll survive. The first thirty seconds sounds like someone coming to the surface, before breaking through to hear Kennedy’s drums and David’s voice. About halfway through, the producers throw in some electronic beats and distort the vocals, which is an interesting touch. Otherwise, the track is right in line with their previous songs. A bit of pop punk and prog rock, driving drums, and expertly crafted riffs.
Overall, Celebration is a mammoth display of technical skill for Little Geronimo. They have clearly taken the time to learn what makes them click as a band, including which time signatures work best. The album is fun, catchy, and lyrically moving. I highly recommend giving them a shot.