by Thomas Bedward November 22, 2017
A three-piece rock band from the bustling streets of Melbourne, Disconnected Genius has slowly been gaining momentum, taking on the Australian indie music scene and winning it over with their unique take on classic rock. The trio of Jamie O’Keefe (vocals, guitar, and piano), Yuri Pavlinov (bass and whispered double shots), and Daniel Farrugia (drums and percussion) first hit out with 2016’s ‘Dogs Chasing Fairy Tales’, a concept album that chronicles the band’s journey from nihilism to enlightenment. It was a landmark release that set the standard for the band, laying down the foundation for the band’s own twisted vision of the classic loud chorus, soft verse dynamic.
Now, Disconnected Genius are back to build on the momentum that ‘Dogs Chasing Fairy Tales’ started. An album that is already winning praise from critics, ‘Nirvikalpa Meow’ is the perfect balance of growth, refinement, and exploration, taking the bones of its predecessor and crafting a whole new life around them. A reflective and ultimately personal release, the album’s title pay’s tribute to a bandmembers’ cat, Meow, who sadly passed away, while ‘Nirvikapla’ is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘without alternative’, and is the highest state of enlightenment in Eastern Philosophy. Elsewhere on the album, the personal and deeply human touches continue, with ‘Vertruvian Men’ arriving as a Da Vinci-tinged ode to skate legends, the Pappa’s Brothers, while the album’s final track, ‘Arkane Bliss’ pays tribute to Ark, a friend of the band who sadly passed away due to tragic circumstances. Capturing a sporting tragedy in song, Disconnected Genius also cast their gaze to the events that surrounded Australian Cricketer, Phillip Hughes, in ‘The Little Don’.
It's tracks like this where the emotion of ‘Nirvikalpa Meow’ shines brightest, flowing freely from the vocals and backed by melodic, almost melancholic instrumentation. It’s not all deeply personal imagery though, with Disconnected Genius also showing that they can dish out some anthemic rock sounds through ‘Just Stay, Don’t Go’, while their versatility is illustrated in the careening sounds of ‘About Nothing’, ‘Kings & Queens’, and ‘The Diamonds in the Poor’.
‘Nirvikalpa Meow’ might not be the most cohesive record, taking personal influences and stitching them together with a handful of spiritual references, diverse rock sounds and a chilled atmosphere that ebbs and flows throughout, but it somehow works. It could be the band’s passion, or perhaps their spirit and will to experiment that makes sure that the listener holds on for all eleven tracks, but whatever it is, it’s certainly something we’re all going to want to hear more of.
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