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Poor Genetic Material: Here Now

Hailing from Germany, Poor Genetic Material has been releasing music since 1998, but never crossed my radar. Point number one, this is quite possibly the worst band name I have ever heard, but, one I would not forget, so maybe it is serving its purpose. There are two lead vocalists; Philip Griffiths and his father Martin who was the singer for 70’s prog band Beggars Opera. Both have excellent voices, but the overly dramatic style is off putting. A phrase used a few times on “In The Prog Seat” YouTube show is paint by numbers; this music feels careful and contrived, a bit too safe. The title track “Here Now” is the perfect example; a short track that tries to stuff a lot of obvious Prog cliché’s into the arrangement. What did catch my ear is the bands secret weapon, a beautiful atmospheric section (2:42) of keyboards (Philipp Jaehne) and flute (Pia Darmstaedter), this is where their strengths lie. The song has a quick and awkward ending; another issue with the first 3 tracks, the endings just doesn’t work. “Serendipity” has a danceable backbeat that reminds me Muse, but suffers from being too rigid, no real groove. The simple melody of “The Waiting Game” offers promise, with its airy intro, but the arrangements of the various sections don’t fit together. The flute comes to the rescue, but only for a few brief measures. The song devolves into a lethargic ending that fades far too quickly as the guitar solo is playing.

“Note From My Younger Self”, features a gorgeous into of piano and flute, I only wish it would have gone on longer. The track is reminiscent of the 80’s Neo-Prog bands that popped up once Marillion garnered mainstream attention. Good backing vocals, catchy hooks, and more flute, finally a track that seems to gel. “The Garden” is a 13+ minute epic, which seems obligatory at this point to follow that prog template. The vocals remind me of Dennis DeYoung as we move towards the five minute mark, and again they prove that writing transitions is a difficult task, they don’t feel natural. Not to beat a dead horse, but I find myself waiting for the moments when I get to hear Darmstaedter’s flute. The ending features the best guitar solo on the album, very melodic.

The strength of Poor Genetic Material lies in their more atmospheric side, they do create some beautiful, hauntingly melodic moments of flute and keyboards. The vocals are well done, but are not in a style that I particularly enjoy. The music lacks energy and emotion, there is a restraint that may be due to the studio environment, but with a career that spans 20+ years, I think what you hear is what you get.

Track Listing

  1. Here Now
  2. Serendipity
  3. The Waiting Game
  4. Note From My Younger Self
  5. The Garden
  6. This Place

Added: January 3rd 2022
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 695
Language: english

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