Poor Genetic Material - Absence - 2016
“The experience and feeling of lacking something ...”
introSame story here as with the Italian band Ataraxia, progVisions lost track of the discography of the German band Poor Genetic Material. After asking for reviewing the new album “Absence”, the band was willing to fill the gap in our Poor Genetic Material collection and send me the latest releases. So I could witness the progression the band had already made with the two previous albums that were both literature inspired efforts. We are talking about the brilliant double CD “Island Noises” and “A Day in June”. On this last effort PGM singer Philip Griffiths shared vocal duties with his father Martin (Beggars Opera). Now Martin Griffiths has joined PGM as a full member. The central topic of the ninth studio album “Absence” is explained by the band as follows;
Absence - the experience and feeling of lacking something. People or ways of life that we have got used to, that gave us comfort and security, that have left their mark on us and shaped our character. Yet, many of them have turned to hardly more than faint memories. That may be so simply because we have changed. Or because whatever or whoever these feelings were attached to is now - for various reasons - beyond our reach.
Philip Griffiths - vocals; Martin Griffiths - vocals; Stefan Glomb -guitars; Philipp Jaehne - keyboards; Pia Darmsteadter - Flute; Dennis Sturm - bass; Dominik Steinbacher - drums
You can find 4 tracks book ended by a thirty minute title track “Absence” that is split into two parts. So the album starts with the title track “Absence - Part 1”. The first thirteen minutes of the suite is opening with an ambient keyboard part that is followed by the first delicate vocal line, flute and guitar parts. This is developing into a beautiful melodious track with great vocals and nice flute and organ parts. Later on the piece becomes more rhythmic and noisily before the tension of the music is decreasing again and you can enjoy a delicious slow part with organ and a melodic flute part before the ambient synths return once more accompanied by a jazzy bass line.
The next track “What if ... ?” Is more hectic and has a more complex arrangement with some aggressive guitar parts. But this is alternated with melodic flute and synth parts. “Lost in Translation” opens with piano, flute and delicate guitar parts. And develops like the first track into accessible tunes with great melodic vocal parts and beautiful instrumental passages. In the three minutes piece “Chalkhill Blues” we can hear a swinging band on top of a jazzy bass line. I would like to mention the beautiful flute parts on this album, nowhere dominant but beautifully arranged and integrated in the music of PGM. The last of the book ended pieces is the ten minutes track “Absconded”. The music has great diversity. Up tempo parts with vocals are alternated with delicate instrumental passages with nice melodic guitar and keyboard arrangements. And with Philip Griffiths the band has a first class vocalist. I also like the flute parts of Pia Darmstaedter in this track. With her own project Autumnal Blossem Pia has just released her second album entitled “Spellbound”.
As mentioned before, this Poor Genetic Material album closes with part two of the title track “Absence - Part 2”. Like the first part the opening is atmospheric and almost ambient-like. After the first four minutes the keyboards are joined by delicate guitars and a slow vocal line. Very slowly the tension of the music is building up but it never becomes hectic. A delicious track with beautiful acoustic guitars and very nice keyboard and flute arrangements. For me this thirty minutes title track is absolutely the highlight of this wonderful album.
“Absence” the ninth studio album of the German band Poor Genetic Material has surprised me in a positive way. In my opinion together with the earlier mentioned double CD “Island Noise”s it is their best work so far. I like the atmospheric side of their beautifully arranged music. The band comes up with some very nice vocal melodies on this album. And I would also mention the beautiful flute parts on this album that are delicately integrated in the music. I intentionally did not give references to other bands in this review because I think that Poor Genetic Material has developed their own unique style. If you like the mellow side of progressive rock and love beautiful arranged music with great vocal melodies ... This one is for you!