Gene

Revelations

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Gene more or less disposes of the Mancunian monkeys on their backs (the Smiths) with Revelations. Not as thick, emotionally draining, or cinematic as 1997's Drawn to the Deep End, Gene enlists another excellent producer in the form of Hugh Jones. Surprisingly, Jones doesn't add the graceful, rich luster to Revelations that he did to other great records like the Kitchens of Distinction's Strange Free World or the Teardrop Explodes' Kilimanjaro. Instead, the sound is sharp and heavy on the high end. With Martin Rossiter getting hitched and becoming a father, his writing material is now focused more on politics than heartbreak. And yes, there's an ode to his "Little Child."

Their dramatics haven't been sacrificed by any stroke, but Revelations feels more like a batch of songs in the manner of their debut than their cinematic studio offering from 1997. The band might be running low on ideas, but they still sound full of fire. More than anything, they deserve credit for fearlessly maintaining an emotional edge that so few of their peers in the British scene lack or avoid. And Steve Mason is surely one excellent guitarist who's gone overlooked far too long.

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