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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Hatful Of Hollow. But not., 4 Mar. 2014
This review is from: To See The Lights (Audio CD)
Gene didn't help themselves regarding the "Smiths copyists" debate with second album, To See The Lights. Eager not to short-change fans, the band used their next release to collate B-sides, alternate versions, live tracks, radio sessions - basically, it was Hatful Of Hollow... Except, to follow that argument to an extreme, you might as well say any band that ever released, let's say, a live album was a copyist too. But anyway, what of this album? Well, to me this is an essential purchase because it includes both versions, guitar and piano, of I Can't Help Myself, a song of such beauty (especially in piano-led form) that it ranks among Gene's finest recordings from any album. Actually, the latter is very much in the style of Martin Rossiter's current solo work, and it was nice to see it reprised as such at recent live shows. Even beyond this reviewer's personal affinity with the stand-out track here, any album that opens with the mighty Be My Light, Be My Guide and closes with For The Dead much surely be worth £9 of anyone's money. Throw in the bonus material - a radio session that was very much a signpost for their third album, and a live set from the Phoenix festival - and it's clear that you can't go wrong with To See The Lights.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of 2014 reissue... A Treasure Chest Of Hollow?, 5 Mar. 2014
By 
Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To See The Lights (Audio CD)
Can it really be 20 years already? 20 years since Gene rose to promenence, with "For The Dead", and 10 since they quietly disappeared, mourned by a handful, and forgotten by many? At one point they could have been kings. Now, overlooked and ignored by Megador Records, the band have quietly faded from view to day jobs and memories. In time, the bands work - an elegant body that combined the majesty of The Smiths with the muscular strength of The Faces and 60's era Mod bands, has aged with dignity and power. Over four albums, and catch all b-sides compilation "To See The Lights", the band explored humanity with increasing effectiveness and skill. This reissue series finally gives the band the dignity they deserve, with expanded editions of each record, appended with every b-side, an enormity of radio sessions (almost every single one the band recorded for the BBC,), and several live shows from the period, showcasing embryonic and early versions of many songs from subsequent albums - are a fascinating insight. In terms of unreleased material, there is little until the time the band were released from their Polydor contract, at which point the band had control of their own recordings. Each of the editions is packed in a double CD set, with the original album appended by b-sides and extra songs. Disc 2 of each package generally tends to be a live radio session recorded for the BBC and live material.

Second album "To See The Lights" is really no such thing, but an huge grab bag of all the band's a- and b-sides for the first five singles, appended with bonus live songs, and a handful of radio session recordings. Yes. It is, utterly, "Hatful Of Hollow Part Deux", and never anywhere was the bands Smith influence writ more obviously. Since most of the live material on this album was taken from the London show which appears in full on the second disc of "Olympian", it perhaps could be asked why the songs are repeated? On the other hand, having seen bands mess with the running order of albums for reissues, it's perhaps better not to muck with the known history. As a result, "To See The Lights" is a very good b-sides record, spoilt by untimely screeching from Londoners and live songs, as well as an incongrously placed cover of "Say A Little Prayer". The second CD contains 4 songs from a BBC Radio Session in December 1995 - all of which were 18 months from release on 'Drawn To The Deep End' - and a live concert from the Phoenix Festival, which alongside several other songs that were yet to come out, also include a unexpected cover of Queen's "You're My Best Friend." : the 'new' songs on the set are embryonic versions that would later become definitive on the subsequent album, but it is fascinating to hear the differing arrangements, the unusual lyrical variations, the way the band move around the basic form of the song and land in different places. In practical terms, this is an unexpected treat, with several early variants of well known songs. Perhaps more suited to the next album, but then again, with such a well documented career these versions are practically early demos that happened to be broadcast on the radio. Sadly, like the rest of the Megalabel years, the bands vaults are bare, exploited by a myriad of multiformatted singles - after all, the 8th b-side on the fourth single would not be, to be honest, crafted with the same care as the lead single, but more probably, written/recorded/mixed and finished in a few hours. But this? It's as good as it gets.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rare tracks, 7 Feb. 2014
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Victor Preston "gvb" (birmingham, west mids United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: To See The Lights (Audio CD)
I am not sure which came first the smith's hatful of hollow, rem's dead letter office
or gene's to see the lights.
they all have a similar idea a compilation of early singles, rare tracks and sessions
designed to spark interest in a new band that needed a boost
now reissued with more of the same to promote reissues of gene's back catalogue
nice hardback CD cases with miniscule print but similar A5 books would have been much better
for all those with failing eyesight!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great band, overshadowed by the unjustified comparison to the ..., 18 Nov. 2014
This review is from: To See The Lights (Audio CD)
A great band, overshadowed by the unjustified comparison to the Smith...which they never were and never wanted to be. If you have to buy just one Gene album, take this one; Martin and the rest of the band were spot on.... I still remember him singing 'I'll say a little pray'; brought the house down.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album of the 90's!!!!!, 3 April 2014
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Ms. Lisa Dillon "leelee" (lincolnshire, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To See The Lights (Audio CD)
Love this album, this special edition is even better. Definately recommend this to any indie music fans. Brilliant car music!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 5 Sept. 2014
By 
Ga Davidson-merritt "gavin" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To See The Lights (Audio CD)
A classic
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