Gene Loves Jezebel
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will confess openly to possessing an unbridled, drooling fascination for this British combo back in the day. However, my disillusionment over having to now discern which version of Gene Loves Jezebel is which (due to the Aston brothers’ ongoing Fogerty-type family feuding) was almost great enough to squelch my interest in this record all together. Dude – just get over it, and review the damn record, already.
Despite retaining most of the band’s “classic” lineup, this version – co-founding singer / songwriter / frontman Jay Aston’s version is NOT your grandma’s Gene Loves Jezebel. The dark, edgy and innovated circa ’83-’88 GLJ now seems considerably less imaginative and inspiring.
Be sure, longtime GLJ producer Peter Walsh has done a lovely job, as Dance Underwater is quite a pleasant little morning coffee record. But while it certainly writhes with blithe ear worms, it’s also slathered with silliness – from the ’90s-era Cher-style auto-tuned vocals on the otherwise solid opening track, “Charmed Life,” to the dopey ’80s-era song title spellings on such tracks as “Izitme” and “Cry 4 U” – OY VEY!
Of the record’s hookiest highlights, “Summertime” is a crisp and catchy keeper, while “Flying (The Beautiful Blue)” is a hypnotic delight. However, dripping with authenticity, it’s the guitar-driven “World Gone Crazy” that will best scratch the itch of the band’s most ardent fans.
In short, Dance Underwater from Gene Loves Jezebel – it’s a pleasant little morning coffee record, indeed.