Genevva Sound Fresh on Timeless New Record “Slip Away”
For nearly a decade, Jenni Cochran and Aaron Craker have been writing songs together. Through various genres and influences, their working relationship has resulted in a collection of great music. The twisting and turning sands of time have seen them change monikers, from Frederick the Younger to Genevva (named after Cochran’s grandmother). And now, they are on the cusp of releasing their magnum opus, Slip Away, into a changed world.
The duo met when Cochran moved to Louisville, KY and joined up with Craker’s then solo project Dr. Vitamin. Ever since, the two have been inseparable. Fever, the final EP from the duo’s past moniker Frederick the Younger, channeled the spirit of 60s rock and roll. Fuzzy guitar tones and big horns punctuate easygoing melodies. Craker & Cochran had perfected their lilting brand of R&B meets soft rock songwriting on Fever. But, they’ve turned over a new page with Genevva. They’ve shaken off the confines of rock and roll, and turned to a more folk-influenced style. Less Rolling Stones, more Mamas & Papas.
Written during the throes of the COVID pandemic, Slip Away was sparked by the writers’ desire to create a record at home. The two recall, “It’s been an adventure recording these songs ourselves. It’s like having a more direct line of communication from what’s in our heads to what the world hears, simultaneously scary and exciting.” The fine line between joy and terror is audible on the record, as lush arrangements rise and fall around the golden voices of these two star-crossed lovers. The songs are imbued with the joy of creation, as the two musicians are able to follow every whim and fancy at their own pace. However, there’s a dark, lonesome undertone that lends weight and urgency to the songs on this record. Cochran says, “More than anything we wanted to create a beautiful record that would carry the listener along and give a sense of peace and freedom – escapism we were personally craving.” This is apparent on the masterpiece “Outside of Cleveland”. Even without the memory of the past year, the repeated refrain of “I feel it all now” is enough to provoke a tear from even the casual listener. This is a record not just about loneliness, but the duo undertake the Sisyphean task of trying to describe the feeling of being alone. Both lyrically and musically, Genevva manage to create a truly unforgettable atmosphere for the listener.
Cochran and Craker’s strength as lyricists lies in crafting uncanny turns of phrase. The chorus of the second song, “Dream On” features the line, “I wanna fly away to where no one ever knows me.” It’s the odd, almost out-of-place “ever” that perfectly encapsulates the solipsistic year we’ve all experienced. Listeners can imagine themselves as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, clicking her heels together to escape a puzzling, and at times horrifying, world. Indeed, songs like “True North” have the sound of Hollywood’s Golden Age. As Cochran sings about “intersecting waves,” “neon swirls,” and “a garden in those weeds,” it’s almost as if a fever dream has crystalized into some sort of cohesive narrative. Cochran and Craker are not just songwriters; they’re also the directors of the imaginary films that could be hewn from these songs. Artists painting scenes on the canvas of a broken world. Prophets turned poets as their empire collapses around them.
Whether it’s the music of a drama set in the early 20th century or the soundtrack to a rainy evening in Queens, Slip Away will transport you somewhere. As a truly heartbreaking year has given way to an exhausted new world, there’s an undeniably sombre but hopeful tone to Cochran and Craker’s writing. The two remember, “A common thread throughout the album is the throwback sound – nods to the 60s and 70s.” As the two look back musically, the lyrics accurately reflect on the mood of our current times. With Slip Away now tucked under their belts, it’s clear these artists can journey wherever their muse takes them. For now, enjoy both the journey and destination that is their latest melancholic offering, the accurately titled Slip Away.
“..they are showing how enduring these sounds are and how fresh they can remain when unified through themes of perseverance and togetherness, with Cochran’s vocals upfront and Craker’s arrangements being backdrops that give her words all the more room to travel. It’s not retro; it’s timeless.”Beats Per Minute