You Don’t Know Jersey is thrilled to premiere the new single “Imitation” from C.R. and the Degenerates. The song is from their forthcoming album Close Encounters. The band is led by singer/guitarist Chris Gennone, one of the most creative—and busy—songwriters in New Jersey. The band’s classic rock influences have been delivered through a modern rock sound that echoes Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. However for the new single and album things take a slightly different path. This is a darker and more experimental road and one that is a fascinating journey.
Right off the bat the first thing that strikes you when hearing “Imitation” is that this is not your typical C.R. and the Degenerates sound. A hypnotic, synchronized drum beat interrupted by dark and passionate organ is our intro here and it is striking. Gennone hits some high notes delivering his rebuke of a love that is not quite real. This is dark, experimental work. Nick Cave territory. A riveting tune that stays with you.
In addition to Gennone on vocals, keys and guitar, Chris is joined by the always industrious Max Rauch on keys, bass, guitar, tambourine and drums.
Close Encounters is out on February 10th via Sniffling Indie Kids.
Gennone answered a few questions:
The darker synth, variations in vocal range and loops is an interesting change for you. What brought on this experimentation?
My friend Andrew turned me onto a Springsteen track from the recent box set of outtakes from The River called “Stray Bullet.” And I realized I wanted to make a record like that, of really dark ballads. So I borrowed a Casio keyboard from my friend Steve and one night I wrote “Numb” and everything else just kind of fell into place.
Have you been listening to anything new that influenced this direction?
I listen to a lot of Jason Molina’s stuff who’s minimalistic approach is definitely something I try to keep in mind. And also Springsteen’s deep cuts from The River helped with the focus of this record.
Why did you decide to include the phone message in “Imitation”?
That was something we kind of did last minute while mixing. I knew I wanted that gap in the song but wasn’t sure what to put on top. So I dug through my old voicemails and found one of my friend Julia from when I was going through a break up at the time. Max heard it and we both agreed it was just a perfect fit with the mood, length and context of the song.
Do you plan to try out this and the other new songs live. What adjustments might you have to make?
I’d really love to but we’ve already been playing songs from the next two Degenerates records coming later this year and early next year. I really like the idea of just singing and letting the band play the instruments. We’ve tried one song out and maybe we’ll try out more but for now it’s kind of already in the rear view mirror.
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