What Shall Be cements Genius of the Crowd as a band with a message and a mission

Eight hours at work, probably another two stuck in traffic on the A500 there and back, plus that eight hours of sleep we’re supposed to have, not to mention a few hours cooking, cleaning, eating, washing – and that’s without the added responsibilities of if you’ve got children. Be lucky if you get an hour or two of free time in the week, which leaves many of us simply living for the weekend – which is exactly what Genius of the Crowd’s latest single, What Shall Be, is all about.

The five-piece outfit, from Stoke-on-Trent, have developed a knack for politically driven anthems that take aim at the lack of NHS funding, homelessness and general austerity, from I Won’t and Not The Problem, to Sleeping Bags and Concrete Floors. Now, What Shall Be once again harnesses frustration at the futility of our everyday routines and turns it into an endlessly catchy post-punk revival record. 

“What Shall Be is quite simply, a song that aims to capture the ridiculousness of the daily cycle we find ourselves in,” the band tells The Leopheard. “The daily cycle of working tirelessly just to buy our existence, of only actually being able to live for two days a week, of working endlessly to essentially never be able to own anything.”

The first couple of seconds of the track had me worried that Genius of the Crowd had strayed far from familiar territory, venturing into electronic pop, but they soon veer straight back to their alternative roots with Jack Baker’s rebellious guitar riff reminiscent of early 2000s rock hits, doubling down on the energy with Dave Smith’s thrashing drums and fuzzier rhythm soundscapes from Matt White and Sam Galway that give the single an unrelenting momentum.

“I like waiting for the weekend

When that sweaty Tuesday rolls around

And the glimmer of my laptop like a solar flare

Starts making a rather unruly sound”

What Shall Be is peppered with satirical verses that unfold with a spoken-word delivery that channels the observational wit and candid storytelling of Britpop classics. Matt’s vocal performance balances cynicism and sincerity, with lyrics that delve into the repetitive cycle of working life, yet the chorus reassures us with a mantra-like repetition that ‘what shall be shall not pass,’ injecting a sense of hope into the record. 

Genius of the Crowd added: “Everything happens for a reason, you may not be able to see what that reason is just yet, but you will soon. What Shall Be was born out of the hope that I’m meant to be exactly where I am, I’m not sure why, but I know that life will take me where I’m meant to go. If I’m stuck in the endless cycle, it’s because I’m meant to be, and if I’m able to break free of it, it’s because I’m meant to, and it won’t pass me by.”

What Shall Be is the sixth release from Genius of the Crowd over the last 12 months, and might just be my new favourite. Their ability to merge the post-punk urgency of bands like Electric Six with the melodic sensibilities of Blur’s 90s rock is masterful, but the audacious and unapologetic lyrics are ones that really do resonate with listeners, particularly in areas like Stoke-on-Trent. 

I take it for granted you know

How honourable they are

To give me two days off

As if they don’t own my life

And I shouldn’t be able to do what I fucking want.”

With a blend of biting satire and hopeful optimism, Genius of the Crowd have crafted a single that is as entertaining as it is enlightening, solidifying their place as a band with both a message and a mission. Bring on the next single.

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