Martin Rossiter

The Defenestration of St. Martin

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Gene lead singer -- and for most intents and purposes, their flat-out leader -- Martin Rossiter returned to action in 2012 via assistance from the fan-funding site Pledge Music, releasing the stark, intimate The Defenestration of St. Martin toward the end of the year. Gene never sounded this spare -- they were a guitar band, after all -- and the unadorned instrumentation naturally forces attention on Rossiter's writing, particularly his lyrics. Always underappreciated during Gene's prime, Rossiter's lyrical skills have deepened with age, his pathos carrying a rich sense of irony and his humor as piercing as a stiletto. The same can't be said of his melodies, music that is gentle and lilting but never immediate; it feels like a soft bed for his words, but repeated listens reveal the structures, no matter how elliptical they may be. Yet that is the appeal of The Defenestration of St. Martin: it is pure artistic id, and after hearing it, it's possible to view Rossiter's entire body of work in a new light, gaining an appreciation for his grace, wit, and artistry.

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