Us and Pelts

Glad Cafe, Glasgow


Andrew Montgomery has a deep speaking voice.  Which may not be surprising unless you hear his singing voice and that trademark falsetto takes flight.

For this is the former lead singer of acclaimed Aberdeen-formed indie pop combo Geneva that formed 26 years ago.

And that golden larynx transported the band to a string of top 40 singles, No One Speaks, Into The Blue, Tranquilizer and Best Regrets and a scintilating debut album that went Top 20 in Further.

He is over to show off his newly formed electro band Us, created in Stockholm with native musician Leo Josefsson, before dusting off some of those hits for an essentially solo show at the Echobelly-headlining Star Shaped Festival at the o2 Academy.

Graham McCarey of Glasgow's deliriously quirky Pelts rightly pointed out that this quaint Shawlands venue was the UK live premiere for Us.

That's after they wise-cracked their way through a divine cacophony of barkingly beautiful 'iffy folk'  including the majestic Another Place which appeared to weld the best bits of Stereolab, Wedding Present, Belle and Sebastian and perhaps even Arab Strap.

Montgomery, an ex-journalist originally from East Kilbride was indeed back, having quit newspapers in the mid-90s with the self-confidence to think that he could actually make good a go out of music.

A brave decision in the days before the internet became a fixture in  homes, when some influencers appeared brainwashed by just two publications... the Melody Maker and the NME.

Geneva signed to Nude in the early 90s and no matter what they did would always be compared unfavourably to labelmates Suede.

It probably reduced their shelf life and just four years after their debut single made waves, they split.

Geneva were quite simply a tour de force when they broke through, though, with a glorious art pop entry point in Nature's Whore that was equal parts The Smiths and Suede. They were an idiosyncratic indie pop concoction transported by that voice.

In 2018, however, I would rather listen to Montgomery's beautiful swooping tones than Suede front man Brett Anderson's grating high-pitched screech.


Montgomery's new project, Us are a whole different ball game from Geneva.

There is barely a guitar on show, as Montgomery and Josefsson dressed in matching pure white boiler suits and head-mounted lights launch into a short but so, so sweet set of atmospheric widescreen synth pop.

The heart-stoppingly dark art-electro of My Heart's Desire is elevated by the breathtaking falsetto of Montgomery who at times comes across as possessed by Matt Bellamy of Muse.

Anyone who wondered where the beats were, would not be disappointed by new tune Voyager which takes Montgomery seamlessly into euphoric electronic dance music territory.

A debut album is eagerly anticipated.