Gene / Olympian

Olympian

Gene were an English alternative rock quartet that rose to prominence in the mid-1990s. Formed in 1993, they were popularly labelled as a Britpop band and often drew comparisons to The Smiths because of their Morrissey-esque lead singer, Martin Rossiter. Gene’s music was influenced by The JamThe SmithsThe Style Council and The Clash.

Olympian is the 1995 debut album by British guitar band Gene, released on 20 March 1995 by Costermonger Records.

It is frequently recognized as one of the crowning achievements of Britpop.

The album sound is noted for being influenced by The SmithsThe Jam & The Small Faces. Aesthetically, the album cover reminds of The Smiths’ sleeves.

The album reached number 8 in the UK albums chart, selling 70,000 copies and gaining a silver disc.

The image used for the cover is a still from Ingmar Bergman‘s The Seventh Seal.

The Analysis—-

Haunted By You—-Beginning with a decidedly British sound, this track, at the onset leads the most resemblance to legendary Morrissey. The music is large and boisterous….the lyrics are filled with an intense fervor of human emotion…even now, for me…this release sounds fresh and new and filled with a promise of things to come. This was a fantastic listen my first time…I nearly had heart failure. The quasi-rockabilly sound is remarkable…and the backdrop voices allow the song to sound huge.

Your Love, It Lies—-Martin enters with a forlorn and emotional vocal delivery that is layed over a sparse instrumentation. When the chorus enters and the band opens up….I fall in love with the energy…just as suddenly it disappears again…..a remarkable journey of moods. You can catch every single word that is sung….and the energy builds and builds…almost making me lose my mind. A wonderfully intelligent band with very introspective lyrical content.

Truth, Rest Your Head—-Gentle at the onset with a wonderful melody that plays underneath the vocal, the song slowly develops and becomes more muscular before giving up and falling melancholy again. This is a perfect recipe that works wonderfully well for this band. The chorus is contagious…melodic and energetic….making you push rewind more than once as you listen.

A Car That Sped—-Rossiter enter with his vocal laid over a beautiful piano introduction. By the time the chorus begins, the song is again an anthemic delivery of power chords and emotional energy. Martin has such an emotive voice…you catch every word…every inflection and every emotion. It is the huge chorus that attracts me so much…this is still so nice to listen back on.

Left-Handed—-Huge and driving from the very first note, the muscular music almost threatens the vocal from Martin. The song slows and allows the voice…but becomes huge and driving in a moments notice. This is really nice…showing diversity and the ability to change things up from song to song. This is a huge track.

London, Can You Wait—-Hands down, my favorite track on this release, I often pull out this CD to to listen to this song. I love the melancholy feel of the song….and the way it builds to a screaming urgency in my brain as Martin hollers…”I was having the time of my life, why did you have to die”. Just remarkable…emotional and fantastically crafted.

To The City—-With a huge drum based intro and exquisite guitars full of feed-back, Rossiter enters with his vocal pushed a bit to the back of the mix…really letting the band shine. At times, the music falls away for split seconds…but comes roaring back in a muscular and aggressive delivery. I love the little interludes and the fact that the band really gets to play…

Still Can’t Find The Phone—-Returning to the true British styling of the band, you can almost hear the accent of Rossiter as he delivers the vocals of this sparse and rather pretty song that has very dark edges in the lyrical content. The British Irony is remarkable with bands like this….you almost have to look inside the words to realize this is perhaps not the pleasant song it portrays itself to be.

Sleep Well Tonight—-With a perfect recipe of muscular chorus and introspective lyrics…combined with an addictive melody…this is another very favorite track of mine. You can’t forget the energy that the band conveys in the playing and the way the vocal gets stronger and more urgent as every thing comes together in a perfect storm. This is brilliant!

Olympian—-A beautifully arranged intro to the song allows Martin to enter with his voice…stark…beautiful and damn near pitch perfect. This is so sparse at the onset…..the song opens up slowly with a wonderful melody and a catchy addictive chorus that makes you sad and elated at the same time. I think for a debut release, this was fantastic. When that chorus builds…I just want to jump up and down in a circle….scream and die with the sadness and elation of the song. This is fabulous.

 

We’ll Find Our Own Way—-Ending the release as strong as it began, I doubt the band even cared that for me they were releasing a ground-breaking debut that would be played thousands of times. For me…this helped to kick start the Britpop thing in my brain…I listened because of The Smiths comparisons….I fell in love for the simple uniqueness of the band. This is a wonderful listen.

***** out of 5

2 responses to “Gene / Olympian

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