Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Genevieve Schatz is exploding with conflictions. The lead singer for Chicago's Company of Thieves, at any moment, could just feel her face twist into a knot and her arms fly up into the air in frustration. It would be that point of - enough's enough. There would be the huffing and the puffing, the red-faced aggravation, the cruelty of the plight. Her heart could be pounding for the pains that have come on so suddenly, but then, seconds later, a cooler head could be prevailing and she'd be sitting there, a collected woman, dealing with her predicaments and her lot philosophically, coolly. Even with that cooler head, however, the eyes would be slit and shifty, ready for the next attack, knowing that there's something out there plotting to get at her. She comes across as someone who can never be beaten, despite the odds.
This is the version of her that we hear during "Gorgeous/Grotesque," a song from the group's latest full-length, "Running From A Gamble," an album that mixes some of the bluesy sensations of a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals record, but also gives everything a bit of a skuzzy snakebite, as if we're getting transported back to those early nights when The Doors were playing their first shows at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. There's a dangerousness to the way Schatz, guitarist Marc Walloch, drummer Chris Faller, bassist Marcin Sulewski and organist Ethan Bernstein approach a song. It's menacing and it's passionate. It comes across as a very gritty response to the countless things and people that we have no control over. We're constantly at the mercy of other people and things and so we just swing. We try to swing our way out of the frays. We get where we can, out of the den of snakes and other beasts. Schatz sings about the birds of the city streets and dirt on their heavy wings, but she could just as easily be singing about the people dodging and trying to go around the birds on the sidewalks - dirty, tired and just looking for a crumb or a bone.