Geoff Farina – Reverse Eclipse

Geoff Farina
Reverse Eclipse

Other critics have called Geoff Farina’s latest solo project “egoism,” filled with “masturbatory guitar” and “incomprehensible lyrics.” Obviously, people just don’t understand. I’ll take the opposite approach and call Farina’s latest solo album a work of poetic genius.
Farina is better known as the singer/guitarist for Karate, and his solo album picks up on the free-jazz feel of Karate’s latest album. But here that sound is stripped down, and you are left with one or two electric guitars and Farina’s vocals. While he jams away with a free, jazz style, he pours out his stream-of-consciousness style of lyrics that are at once beautiful and rich.
In truth, I would say that Farina is a modern day beat poet. This album is music in the way poets would accompany their more spoken word pieces with soft guitar or jazzy drum licks. Here it’s a bit more precise, but Farina retains the loose, flowing, experimental feel of those earlier poets as he lays down his words in a kind of poetic free verse. It’s easy to imagine Farina sitting on a stool in the corner of a coffee shop, playing his guitar and singing these words. Maybe those beat poets of a generation ago weren’t fully appreciated, and Farina may face the same fate, but neither let it be said their work was not brilliant.
That vision of a guitar plugged into a small amp and Farina singing through a single mic are easy when listening to a song like “Heningson or Hemingway,” and “Gravity” is amazing free verse: “The will of windshields will win your way, despite disconnections and digits and dimes … Profane fames and phantom pains disappear with rains down city drains.” On “Olive or Otherwise,” Farina’s tone is lighter, and he takes more time just jamming on the guitar, layering on two or three guitar parts for a light, jazzy, improvisational feel.
Most songs here are anything but simple, despite the relative lack of accompaniment. “The Left-Handed Way,” for example, is a quiet, somber affair that somehow manages to sound rich and moving. “I feel like we could have it all if we could keep it together, and I feel that the left-handed way up to God is much better,” Farina sings. “Fire” sounds a bit more like a recent Karate song, at least in its less free guitar and quiet yet soaring quality. “The Rights” uses multiple layered guitars to give the song a fuller, more complex feel, and Farina shows off his guitar talents without ever rocking out. Probably my favorite track is the mellow “One Percent,” with its line “try to resist, like an ash against the ocean” and its extended guitar noodling.
Unlike his latest Karate album, Reverse Eclipse is clearly all about Geoff Farina’s own vision. The jazzy style of indie rock is still apparent here, and his vocals, so rich and expressive, can one moment soar and the next murmur. Here, Farina is showing his most expressive side, crafting works of poetry and soft, free music in a way that’s both pleasing and inspiring.