Another band who had the weight of expectation of being championed by Morrissey in their early days were Gene. They did slightly better than Raymonde and also had a sound much closer to that of the Smiths.
They had a lot in common, great guitar playing, depressing, tongue in cheek, sexually ambiguous lyrics, even the odd Morrissey vocal yodel and growl. The early singles were beautifully designed and recognisable, time spent on great b sides and their own hatful of hollow (To See the Lights). what they lacked maybe was someone with a strong sense of individuality. I really like Gene and have all their lps and early singles but I struggle to picture what the individual band members look like
Formed from the ashes of the band Spin (who had a great single released in scatches in the sand)In the 10 years that they were together they made a dozen or so singles and 4 lps (excluding compilations and a live lp) They hit their commercial peak with Britpop but had little in common with the blur/oasis bandwagon.
They split in 2004 having felt they had come as far as they could , ironically having released the lp Libertiine which had some of the best material they had recorded on.
I've posted the debut single For the Dead which made record of the week in nme when this meant something. I was lucky to get one of the 2000 or so copies printed. I remember hearing it for the first time a being genuinely excited and feeling a real sense of anticipation when the first lp came out.
The second track is my favourite thing they have done and comes from the second lp. It starts with a beautiful bit of guitar playing before entering an almost waltz tempo
The final track is from the last lp and shows they could still do the epic and the dramatic
You can buy Gene lps here and if you were forced to make a choice I'd go with the second lp Drawn to the Deep End
There is also a good fansite here