Genre Zero= John Vanderslice + Jeff Mangum
Although they’re not bringing a new and original category of music to the table, as their name would suggest, Genre Zero usher a style of power alt-rock that I wish was more common in today’s local scene. With their recently released EP, vocalist Joshua Isbell wails in a John Darnielle–esque fashion to an upbeat, percussive tempo and rolling violin textures. The lyrics (which read like Beat poetry when on paper) consist of bittersweet ballads of lost affection written in the first person. The only criticism I can muster for this EP is that the violin rhythms are a bit distracting from the other elements. Whether it be a mixing error or an intentional aesthetic signature, it’s only a minor nuance when contrasted with the weight of the EP as a whole. Regardless of whatever genre they’re branding themselves, their songs are catchy and effective.