Review: A Genuine Freakshow – Oftentimes

Every now and then you come across a band that you think is truly something special, and this is exactly what happened earlier this year when I saw A Genuine Freakshow at the Frog and Fiddle in Cheltenham. It was a quiet night and the small crowd didn’t do justice to the quality of music on offer that evening.

Since then I have managed to see A Genuine Freakshow live once more at 2000 Trees festival, where, for me, they were one of the best acts of the entire weekend. However, as brilliant as they are live, when it comes to studio versions of their music we’ve had to settle with repeatedly listening to the four tracks available from their website. And so it was with bated breath that I awaited the release of A Genuine Freakshow’s début album, Oftentimes.

This seven piece from Reading add cello, violin and trumpet to the more traditional rock four piece and have influences that include Mogwai, Mew and Sigur Ros, all of which could lead you to think that Oftentimes would be a pure post-rock offering. But while these influences do inspire some post-rock tendencies, A Genuine Freakshow have a lot more to offer.

Tim Sutcliffe’s falsetto vocals and melancholy lyrics complement the grandiose feeling to the songs. The inclusion of the ‘classical’ instruments adds layers to create an overall sound of almost epic proportions that is very much at home in the post-rock genre. However, these tendencies are tempered by more technical pop stylings to create some unpredictable song structures and a sound that is fairly unique.