venerdì 24 luglio 2009
Gene "Drawn To The Deep End"
Avete voglia di piangere? Avete voglia di commuovervi? Avete voglia di sentire il cuore che batte forte? Ascoltate " Where Are They Now? ". E davvero capirete che cosa vuol dire emozionarsi con una canzone.
E' difficile uscire con un secondo disco all'altezza del primo, se l'esordio è stato magnifico. I Gene ce la fanno. Non raggiungono la perfezione di quel primo magnifico album, ma "Drawn To The Deep End" è giusto un millimetro sotto.
Ma si...si potrà continuare a dire che l'ombra degli Smiths sovrasta il gruppo e che non c'è nulla di nuovo sotto il sole, sempre il solito romanticismo e pene amorose e struggimenti vari. Ma non mi interessa. Non mi interessa perchè qui dentro ci sono dei pezzi con i quali sono cresciuto, dei pezzi che tutt'oggi non hanno perso nulla in fascino e tensione emozionale. Ninne nanne gentili, un singolo grintosissimo, favole elettro acustiche, arrangiamenti preziosi, una canzone epica e drammatica in apertura. E' meraviglia sonora che non stanca mai. E' la musica dei Gene. (1997 Polydor)
A second record can be quite a test. A band must please fans, target new listeners and write music that shows maturity and experimentation. Gene's second studio album, the flawlessly produced Drawn To The Deep End, passes these tests with ease. Drawn offers a Gene more confident, more elegant and even more joyful than on its debut LP Olympian.
The signs are everywhere: singer Martin Rossiter has honed his smooth voice into a heart-melting croon and guitarist Steve Mason has evolved into a veritable treasure chest of gorgeous hooks, crafty transitions and blues-influenced riffs. Bassist Kevin Miles and drummer Matt James play their instruments like we didn't know they could.
Even though Gene's aura continues to hover into near-Smiths-ness, listeners should be able to detect a plethora of alternate influences - including Tears For Fears, the Rolling Stones and even Elvis Presley - pervading the tunes on Drawn.
From the first downbeat, slow-building strums of opener "New Amusements," Gene flaunts the kind of real emotion so appealing in the work of fellow countrymen the Smiths and Morrissey. The seven-minute epic, instantly as creative as any song the band has previously written, moves through four distinct melodies.
Rossiter first lofts breathy commands at his subject, then when his bandmates roar into a peppy whirl, switches to vintage, Bona Drag-era Morrissey to plead he's trying to feel things that no one has ever felt. Next, we're treated to Mason's spacy guitar warblings before the song stomps off into a Zeppelin-like outtro.
Savvy frontman Rossiter sings almost exclusively about love, whether it be his lack of it, his surplus of it or of the raw cries that can only be emitted from a broken heart. His polished delivery affords his lyrics the extra boost the band needed to penetrate our memories. Thus, the sincerity of the slower, ballad-like songs, such as the beautiful "Why I Was Born" and the impassioned "Speak To Me Someone," is the real treat of the album. In the latter, we're back at the prom, with our sweetheart's head resting gently on our shoulder.
But for all its gentle balladeering, Gene isn't afraid to rock. "Voice Of Your Father," another multilayered offering, takes no prisoners with rough-house riffing and venomously delivered lyrics. First single "Fighting Fit" shows off a macho chord progression that follows a pretty piano melody carried throughout the song. At once urgent and playful, Rossiter reminds he will "give as good as I get."
Of the songs that fall in between quiet and raucous extremes, "We Could Be Kings" stands out as the best. Previewed extensively during Gene's 1995 U.S. tour, the song has benefited greatly from Rossiter's backup vocal harmonies and a beefier, throbbing finish. Here, we find the singer at his most vulnerable, asking, "will you hold me like a child / will you catch me when I fall / can you hear me when I call / can you love me?"
Sound-alikes from Olympian aren't too frequent here, although Mason's guitar part on the mellow "Save Me, I'm Yours" sounds a little too much like Olympian's "For The Dead." Despite writing most of Gene's songs in the same general key, Mason has, to his credit, found a way to make each one distinct. On this jazzy number, he borrows a bit from Paul Weller here and from Keith Richards there, fashioning a smooth trail for Rossiter to navigate.
While Gene's style might seem derivative, the strength of Drawn is undeniable, as is the band's vastly improved song writing. And if nothing else, Gene fills a void in current music, speaking to those of us who still believe in the mystery and intrigue of love and rock and roll. While we follow our hearts, sometimes blindly and painfully, it's nice to know Gene will catch us if we fall. (Jonathan Cohen - http://www.nudeasthenews.com/)
As if miffed by the flood of Smiths comparisons their otherwise brilliant debut Olympia garnered, London's Gene call out the dogs, stiffening and toughening their sound for an even more spectacular and far more singular follow-up, the early favorite for 1997's LP of the year. Without changing their style, Drawn to the Deep End expands on it, determined to stretch their boundaries while digging in harder (hiring the ADAM & THE ANTS' old post-punk producer CHRIS HUGHES pays off big time). Right from the emotional rollercoaster of "New Amusements," which goes through several seamless changes (including a brooding piano solo and a vibrating, closing guitar trill riff), anchored by MARTIN ROSSITER's desolate, yearning, guttural vocal, Gene bang you over the head where once they tickled your toes. The smashing, pre-LP single "Fighting Fit" was the hint. It's set to an insistent soul beat that recalls the verses of Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown," dominated by the clap and clamor of STEVE MASON's dazzlingly deceptive guitar work. Drawn then settles in to more contemplative territory (with the exception of the also harried, overloaded "Voice of Your Father," which recalls the breathless rush of their 1994 b-side "This is Not My Crime"), without ever letting go of the monumental forward thrust and edge. "Save Me I'm Yours" and "The Accidental" (featuring a surprising, terrific, guest female vocal solo) are the most touching tracks, so hushed and melancholic yet sweet, they make you fight back tears, a feeling that lurks throughout as Drawn burbles on. There're plenty of other heart tuggers, such as "Where Are They Now," where Rossiter employs a typically mercurial metaphor, comparing being lovelorn and left behind to being "incapable of breathing," over another pulsing, thunder clap pang of Mason and pals. Yow! So much for apathy rock. And never mind heart tugging, there's a passage in "Speak to Me Someone" (which was previewed on Gene's 1995 U.S. tour) that is out-of-the-blue heart stopping, one of those musical moments that makes the room freeze: a simple, screamed "no!!!!" seems to have been pulled by forceps out of Rossiter's lungs, up his windpipe, out through his mouth as if he's been shot. It's clear that the Rossiter/Mason combo is lethal dynamite, and in bassist MILES and JAMES they've got a dynamic rhythm section to make mountains out of molehills. Drawn to the Deep End, as its title implies, is an emotional onslaught, a flood of raw, unfettered, and unfiltered human feeling, an exquisite ebb and flow of earthquakes and temporary serenity. A total, total knockout. (Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, All Music Guide)
- New Amusements
- Fighting Fit
- Where Are They Now?
- Speak To Me Someone
- We Could Be Kings
- Why I Was Born
- Long Sleeves For The Summer
- Save Me, I'm Yours
- Voice Of The Father
- The Accidental
- I Love you,What Are You?
- Sub Rosa