Gene

Gene

Libertine

Artist Direct / BMG

Gene have been unable to scale the commercial heights of their mid-1990s offerings lately, and there’s little hope that this one is going to change any of that. That’s no reason why you shouldn’t get this, however, because this is a fine release from the British kings of melodramatic soul-infused pop, and the natural heirs to The Smiths’ angst-pop throne. While this may initially give the impression of being almost too near-perfect and unassuming for its own good, stay with it, and it will grow on you and reveal a subtle and beautifully crafted effort from one of the most consistently good bands out there.

The lilting opener “Let Me Move On” is a great kick-off track, but merely a slight hint of the several stunning moments that will follow. “Does He Have a Name?” is Gene at their best, a restrained performance that only serve to strengthen the sense of confusion and paranoia that the song deal with. “O Lover” is a fantastic, strolling pop song, while “Spy in the Clubs” even bears a trace of Soft Cell. “We’ll Get What We Deserve” is a slab of soulful pop with a country blues twist, an absolutely irresistible track and one of the album’s truly great standout moments — and provides a sharp contrast to the equally great, but far more dwelling, introverted “Let Me Rest,” which climaxes in a frenzy of uncontrolled (well, relatively speaking) guitar riffing and a furious Hammond organ solo. A convincing and considered new effort from one of the truly great bands from Britain’s early-’90s wave of new guitar pop bands, proving that Gene is still a very viable prospect indeed.

Artist Direct Records: http://www.artistdirect.com

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