Friday, 22 February 2013

Desert Island Discs 47 Olympian by Gene

47 Olympian by Gene 1995

I know it is lazy but Gene certainly didn't help themselves with the Smiths comparisons. As well as Morrissey's early patronage (usually a kiss of death) , guitar driven , songs about death , a slight vocal wail , distinctive and consistent style of early single sleeve , and non album b sides that could have been a sides.

However there was  much more to Gene than Smiths wannabees, and they had soon built up a dedicated following (largely driven by sparkling live shows ) that meant singles would crash into the lower reaches of the top 40 and then disappear a week later.

Maybe not their best lp , but the one that I like the most , just because having already got the 2 early singles when it came out it had that sense of being part of the discovery rather than a band owned by everybody.

Death weaves in and out of every song be it the straight forward pop of Haunted by you or in Sleep Well Tonight which if I was to play one song to say what the Gene sound was all about then it may well be this

What really stands out on the rest of the lp is the intricate guitar work of Steve Mason , whether on the almost chipper Can't Find the Phone or the majestic title track

Still Can't Find the Phone - Gene

Olympian track is a truly majestic bit of music showing an ambition way ahead of the run of the mill Britpop bands. Here is the lp version rather than the butchered track that was released as a single

Olympian  - Gene

you can by Olympian here


  1. Argh, how could I overlook this one? Can't Find The Phone a breezy delight that has landed on many of my comp CDs. 'Majestic' really the only the word to describe the title track... Maybe blasphemous to say, but to my ears there are tracks here as good as anything by the Smiths.

    #47 - JOE HENRY - "CIVILIANS" (2007)

    - Warning: this one may be in "acquired taste" territory... I have a feeling TJ will pen an absolutely brilliant profile about singer/songwriter Joe Henry at some point, so I'll just mention that I wrote a short piece on Hissyfit about this fine album as part of a blurb lamenting the demise of brick and mortar record stores back in January 2012. Here's what I wrote:
    JOE HENRY - Civilians... My impatience allowed me lose track of Joe Henry when he drifted into jazzy Wait's style sonic experimentation, but I decided for a couple of bucks to give "Civilians" a shot... Organic and tuneful, it turns out to be a winner! One of the most moving pieces I've heard in a long while is 'Our Song'. An observed narrative about a discreet encounter with octogenarian baseball player Willy Mays testing garage door springs in a hardware store may not seem like great songwriting fodder, but this is much more; actually a profound allegory about the inherent brokenness of America. Besides being one of greatest ballplayers of all time, Willy was the epitome of quiet grace and class... some might say, the antithesis of Muhammad Ali. Both felt the sting of racial inequality and strife, and each chose different paths. I don't know if my Euro-friends can empathize with the characters, the DIY tech metaphors or sentiment of this one, but for me this one is a genuine "dart to the heart."
    Our Song:
    Civil War:

  2. I have to confess that these I let go after a brief view on Later (was it?) when I did that "meh, Smiths" thing too. I need to back track as a mate (thanks Kevin - why do 'Trevs' always hang out with 'Kevs'?) recommended The Defenestration of St. Martin Rossiter's recent solo album. He'd noticed my love of Paul Buchanan's 'Mid Air' and the wailing that followed 'cause he'd made the album I wanted to (piano/voice only) before me; I ain't competing with PB. Anyway, The Defenestration of St. Martin is a beauty; the earnestness of the vocal distances it from Mid Air, love it!
    TT, I know that we both share a love of 'Our Song'. It took me an age to choose my fav' Henry album and (although I reserve the right to change my mind (only a fool wouldn't) it was this song and (your right) the lack of jazz chops intrusion on this album that makes me love it so; where previous albums had been experiments with sound here Henry reigns himself in and makes the song the thing again.
    Great choice!

  3. I haven't heard this album before but after hearing the two samples, I'm off to e-bay.I'm scared this might end up with me buying a back catalogue.Don't really need to pay the mortgage, do I ?
    # 47 Horse - The Same Sky. I've followed Horses career since first hearing debut single 'You could be forgiven'on some crappy TV show back in 89/90. She has a fantastic voice and every album is worth investing in, but for me her debut is still her best.
    'you could be forgiven'
    and probably her most famous song ( almost a hit!) 'Careful'

  4. Hi Trev - I think a relisten is due - now the smiths have been gone so long the comparisons are less to the fore
    Phil the 2nd lp Drawn to the Deep End and the little heard final Libertine are both worth getting - the 3rd one Revelations is a more straight forward rock lp and lacks some of the light and shade of the others


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