As Geographer, Mike Deni is known for his moving, often ornate compositions that fuse organic and electronic instrumentation. So the new Geographer single “Alibi” — a buoyant, ’70s-style, mid-tempo rocker — is a bit of a left turn.
The song constitutes “a lane I don’t often occupy, for Geographer, and certainly one I never would have been able to write on my own,” the songwriter says.
“Alibi” was co-written and co-produced with Taylor Locke (Rooney, Taylor Locke & the Roughs and the mastermind of the musical comedy “Don’t Stop, The Story of Fleetwood Mac,” in which he portrays Lindsey Buckingham). Working out of his Los Feliz studio, Locke is responsible for producing several of the songs on Geographer’s forthcomig album, “Down and Out in the Garden of Earthly Delights” (out Dec. 4.).
“At the time, he was storing a lot of Beck’s keyboardist’s keyboards in his studio, and I was like a kid in a candy store, as is very clear on the track,” Deni says. “But basically since I wasn’t sure what we were writing the song for, we were just doing it to write it, there was that pressure of ‘Is this a Geographer song, are we playing by the rules?’ that can be a little stifling sometimes, those self-inflicted outside critics.
“We started out by trying to reinvent me as a James Taylor for the modern age, and very quickly ended up with more of an Elvis Costello/’70s-era Jackson Browne-type song, which is something I love to listen to, but have never put on a Geographer record before.”
After making the demo, Deni and Locke revisited the song at a later session. “We polished this one off in a day, keeping the original vocal take and the synths and drums from the writing session,” Deni says. “It was a great day, and that memory and Taylor’s gorgeous guitar playing have made it one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made.
“Conceptually, it’s a song about testing the limits (and therefore definition) of love. The song says, ‘Sure, you love me and everything, but would you lie to the police for me?’”
||| Stream: “Alibi”