With their debut full-length release, Fergus & Geronimo prove two things: They're talented, clever musicians, and they're unsure how to create a cohesive album. Unlearn showcases 11 well-written, cleanly recorded tunes, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes angry, earnest, or playful. Individually, they're catchy and artful. Taken together, they're a dizzying, schizophrenic soundscape.
Fergus & Geronimo (Andrew Savage and Jason Kelly) are undeniably flexible musicians, and can channel any number of past genres. The title track and "Powerful Lovin'" are both accurate Motown. The scratchy chords and spare guitar on "Michael Kelly" evoke the Velvet Underground. "Baby Don't You Cry" is rife with "la la las" reminiscent of the '60s, and sounds rather like the Rolling Stones. "Where the Walls are Made of Grass" is a Latin-esque surfer-style tune, redolent with meandering horns and suggestive of a Steve McQueen-era soundtrack.
Ironically, F&G criticize the very industry that shaped them. One tune's a scathing indictment of hipsters and the music business: "Wanna know what I would do if I was you? I'd find another scene to leech onto." All well and good, but even embittered, anti-establishment types like well-constructed albums. Fergus and Geronimo have the talent; now all they need is some focus.