Fall 1995 Tour

Gene's debut album "Olympian" is a work of enormous scope and skill. These thirteen songs incorporate sweeping emotions and salacious wit in melodic and insightful waves. Seething so close under the skin, their themes range from small town angst ("Sleep Well Tonight"), self conscious reaching out, to the pain of loss ("London, Can You Wait?"), sharp social commentary ("Left Handed"), to companionship that transcends pain and loneliness ("We'll Find Our Own Way").

On record the songs off "Olympian" are crisp and exacting, the very prime model of Britpop. Live, however, these enormous songs are infused with a power and raw energy that is most telling of the strong emotion laying in wait beneath their self-conscious exterior.

Gene's eloquent vocalist Martin Rossiter plays his role of the front-man to the hilt. His stage presence is reminiscent of other charismatic singers, and yet transcends any comparison to David Bowie or Morrissey. Despite thevid Bowie or Morrissey. Despite the "Olympian" presence he exudes, there is a closeness, a camaraderie he creates with the audience, as if the songs are about you and him together overcoming life's trials and loves downfalls.

The ensemble of these four musicians is powerful. Steve Mason is a virtuoso in laying out delicate and equally rancorous guitar riffs with swaying ease. Aided by a steady and strong base line from Kevin Miles and energetic percussion from Matt James this band transcends any comparison to The Smiths. Larger in scope and width of emotion, and much more skilled as musicians Gene have earned their status as Britain's strongest "pop" band.

Their fifteen song set included much of the songs off "Olympian." Minus the delicacy of keyboards or strings these songs came across as more combustible energy then Morrissey-esque dejection. The set allowed for three b-sides "Do You Want To Hear It From Me?"," Sick, Sober, and Sorry," and "Child's Body."

Most telling of the direction in which Gene are growing were the three new songs performed. The at times untitled song, known only as "French Song" was a collection of devastating vignettes. This song shows the bands willingness to express their political beliefs, and lyrically it shows the sharpening of Rossiter's wit. "We Could Be Kings" musically expresses the evolution of Gene's sound: part rancorous, part seething, this song incorporhing, this song incorporates the energy of Gene's live show. Standing above anything performed, though, was "Speak To Me Someone." This song is immeasurably delicate and beautiful. The emotions are deep and heartfelt. Martin Rossiter has penned his most intense and lovely song.

Gene has definitely established themselves as not only brave musicians and deft lyricists, but also an incredible live show. Incorporating the raw energy of "rock and roll" with the precision of "Britpop," Gene meld emotion and energy into anthems for the dejected and sincere. The enormous songs off "Olympian" are at home an anyone's CD collection, likewise with the many singles. Also, don't miss the opportunity to see Britain's strongest import this year, the power of their live show is incredible.

© 1995, Rational Alternative Digital