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Martin Rossiter and co debut a new, sexier, darker sound!,
This review is from: Libertine (Audio CD)
Despite their penchant for classy, swaggering tunes and elegant, tear-stained ballads, Gene
have never risen above cult status.
Libertine is a 'make it or break it' album for Martin Rossiter and his cohorts.
It's their first studio outing since 1999's Revelations, a record which met with, undeservedly, lukewarm reviews.
So will this new album condemn the band to indie obscurity or lead them onwards and upwards?
Well, the good news is that Libertine is a fine record,which sees the band jettisoning the Smiths comparisons which have dogged their career from day one, and heading into brave, new territories.
At times, Libertine is brooding, sultry and saucy, with many of the tracks built around slinky bass grooves.These fey, white boys have decided to get sexy on us. . .
We'll Get What We Deserve is on a reggae tip (!), the gorgeous You is tinged with '60s soul, and Let Me Rest nods its head in the direction of disco, ending in a crazed Hammond and guitar freak-out!
Libertine is also much darker than its predecessor.
Opener Does He Have A Name? is a moody, slow-burning epic, scored with velvety strings, A Simple Request is funky, country noire, riddled with mean slide guitar, and Is It Over is a piano-led weepie of anthemic, Elton John proportions.
Rest assured,though, there are plenty of classic, old skool Gene moments on offer.
Oh Lover sets the unpleasant subject matter of wife beating to a pretty, soulful tune, laced with warm organ chords and Steve Mason's delicate guitar textures, whilst Walking In The Shallows and Yours For The Taking are sprightly, feisty rockers, which will go down a storm in the band's live set.
Even those of you with the hardest of hearts will be unable to resist the closing Somewhere In The World - a poignant, simple lullaby to lost love.
Rumours of Gene's death have been greatly exaggerated - on the evidence of Libertine, they're still fighting fit and able.