Gene - Olympian - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Gene - Olympian

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2014-02-03

Dismissed at the time as mere Smiths wannabes--thanks to the moany, mannered timbre of Martin Rossiter's vocals, combined with the eloquent self-obsession of his lyrics--many critics missed the most glaring influence upon these perennial UK second-stringers: the jagged, overdriven buzz of Steve Mason's guitar, which owed at least as much to Steve Marriott as it did to Johnny Marr. On this, their much-anticipated debut album, there is a distinct feeling of acknowledging and celebrating their influences, both musical and geographical: a deep sense of London was embedded in these songs, either overtly--on tracks like "To The City" and "London, Can You Wait?"--or implicitly, in its role as host to most of the great guitar-pop of the preceding decade. Inevitably, some tracks worked ("Haunted By You", "Sleep Well Tonight"), and some didn't ("Your Love, It Lies", "A Car That Sped"); yet for all the dutiful veneration of their sources, what Gene lacked were moments of actual transcendance. Obsessed with the great and enduring, they were capable only of the intermittently good. --Andrew McGuire

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