With their second album, the Astons had the advantage of both a stabilizing band lineup (Rizzo had joined on bass) and one of the best producers around, John Leckie. The English mastermind's sharp ear for bringing bands up to newer levels proved the case here, slightly streamlining the wild sound of Promise while sacrificing none of Gene Loves Jezebel's edgy weirdness. The Astons themselves whipped up a series of more focused rockers, letting the hooks show through a bit more strongly. The opening "Always a Flame" conclusively demonstrates how well the new combination worked. Buried drums, echoed guitar, and soft cries suddenly transform into a blasting romance number; the rhythm section work easily rivals that of any other early-'80s post-punkers, while the almost mandolin-like arrangement on the chorus is a lovely touch. Add in the Astons' passionate lyrics to a missing love and the glammy rush of the song, and Immigrant is off and running. Like Promise, variety is part of the album's appeal, ranging from the slow punch and chanting of "Stephen" to the giddy blasts of "Worth Waiting For" (with an intentionally hilarious spoken word break in the middle) and "Cow," Immigrant's underrated highlight. When at their most mystic and tribal, the Astons nail it more often than not; the title track connects especially well, sounding like Echo & the Bunnymen's slightly more florid cousin with an especially catchy chorus. Gene Loves Jezebel aren't afraid to let humor sneak through in other areas, as they prove in naming the last three songs "The Rhino Plasty," "Deep South Wale," and "Coal Porter." That final tune is especially good, a lovedrunk remembrance of the past with evocative imagery and a lovely arrangement; its soft percussion and electric guitar are carefully filled out with piano and backing vocals.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett