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Customer Review

on 4 March 2014
Gene's last album, Libertine... and they really were liberated, free from Polydor - this was recorded on their own label, at their own pace and in their own style. The result, I think, is the band's finest achievement, and one of the great undiscovered albums of the 21st Century. Yes, I know that is high praise - it surprises me too, because I remember not being bowled over when it was first released. Back then, I wanted them to still be the Gene of Olympian... I struggled to let them move on. Seems I wasn't the only one either - despite great reviews, Libertine struggled at the time too, and floundered without Polydor's promotional muscle. However, like Drawn To The Deep End before it, the band's swansong stands as a wonderfully cohesive piece of work, a fact not lessened by the re-issue embellishment it gets here. Does He Have A Name? contains, in my view, Rossiter's finest Gene lyric. The achingly sad Is It Over? seems terribly prescient too, for the band, whilst delighted with Libertine, would soon all know that the writing was on the wall. A shame for all concerned, because tracks like Somewhere In The World demonstrated that, even though they had changed, Gene were still at the peak of their powers. What's left, in Libertine, is an album that has aged well, and is perhaps more in tune with the ears and tastes of Gene fans now those fans are all 10+ years older. Also, somewhat brilliantly, Libertine's bonus materials are the richest of all: in addition to mopping up the B-sides of the era, there are some comparatively rare tracks (studio versions of Baby I'm Sorry and the excellent Rising For Sunset, plus lots and lots of demo versions. If you judge re-issues on the merits of their bonus materials, this is the one to buy first. What's more, it's the only one available on vinyl (the band, rather than Polydor, own the recording, so all avenues were open with Libertine).
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