Friday, February 13, 2009

FDF Volume 2 Issue 126: Gene Loves Jezebel - Kiss of Life

By: March

Album - Kiss of Life
Artist - Gene Loves Jezebel
Key Players - Jay Aston, James Stevenson, Peter Rizzo, Chris Bell
Produced By - Tim Palmer, Paul Fox

Release Date - June 15, 1990.

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I can't tell you the last time I even uttered the bands name. I was looking at the cd rack and sure enough a "forgotten disc" pretty much screamed out to me. Its been YEARS since I have listened to this cd.

Overview - Founded in the early 1980s the "goth rock/alternative" band based out of the UK took many years to be recognized on US shores. The band was the brain child of Jay and Michael Aston. The band had a series of member changes, and before this record Michael left the band as well. The band would find some success in the US in the mid 80s with some songs landing on college radio. Kiss of Life was the first record without Michael as he left because he felt the band was getting too "poppy". As a side note, their record was being recorded at the time of the World Series that was interrupted by the earthquake in San Francisco.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- A big guitar opens up the lead off single "Jealous". The big drums and guitars are a change from the bands material in the past. There is more a focus on bass, drums and this catchy guitar riff. A perfect song to release as the lead off single. The rocking guitar, with splashing of acoustic here and there bring up "It'll End in Tears". Aston gives a shiver to his voice that adds a cool touch and the guitars are pretty good in the mix, with simple chord progressions moving things along. The drums also get a little more punch in the mix. We mellow things out some with the title track "Kiss of Life". A track that blends plush acoustic guitar with a very "full" sounding electric guitar. The vocals are subdued some, and its more a mid-tempo rock track, not a ballad by any means, but slower than the prior two tracks. Drums bring up "Why Can't I?" a track that sits in the tight drum line into with Aston almost chanting the first few lines of the song. The bass chugs more on the track and the guitars are reduced to the occasional chord as Aston sings. A piano comes up and plays off the guitar as well. Aston hits a few notes way off the charts and there are some flashy guitar parts here and there. The track fades out with a lengthy guitar solo as well. Keyboards rush over the intro of "Syzygy". Aston speaks the first vocals lines and the track is done inside 30 seconds. It fades right up in to "Walk Away" and once more we are more in a mellow mood, but come the verse leading to the chorus the band hits down and the vocals are a little tighter. The song as a decent rocking vibe to it. "Tangled Up in You" was another song that was a single to college radio and much like the lead off track its easy to hear why it was picked, big drums and guitars with a decent back tempo to get your toes tapping. Aston has the quiver in his voice but it fits the song perfectly. A song that the indie rock goths adopted as their own and it made it on many mix tapes of the time. The electric and acoustic guitar feed off each other in the intro to "Two Shadows". After flashy intros the band sort of sits back some, and the the track is sort of "ehh". There are too many of these moments honestly. "Evening Star" opens with more of a pounding drum and single electric guitar really getting a chord workout. The bass chugs and then when Aston comes in it sort of falls a little flat once more. Musically it has potential, it never gets flashy, but it has a big sound that could be harnessed more. The album wraps up with "I Die for You " another hushed acoustic number.

Where are they now? - Jay, James, Peter and Chris still perform under the moniker "Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel". There have been many issues with the bands name and both brothers have toured under the same name. Micheal's version seems to be less popular but he owns the rights in the US. The bands have swapped jabs on myspace and Micheal even had Jays version of the myspace page taken down at one time for copy write infringement.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The first and only time I saw the band was on August 18, 1987, Gene Loves Jezebel opened for the New Order, and
Echo and the Bunnymen show at Great Woods. I don't recall much of the Gene Loves set, but I remember New Order being boring beyond words.

FDF Overall Take - There are a few big rock star moments on here and you can tell the band was coming off a pretty big personnel change. The songs that are 'good' are real good but the songs that are even average don't hold my interest for very long. I think a "best of" collection might be all anyone really needs.

Links -
Jay's version here
Michael's here.
Jays official site here.
Here is a myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been removed, they were:

Tangled Up in You

The tracks were taken from "Kiss of Life" which you can find here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 11:39 AM, Anonymous george said...

Holy Guacamole! Though I do have a Gene Loves Jezebel best of on CD, I never got a chance to upgrade this one from cassette. In the end that's probably okay since "Jealous" and "Kiss of LIfe" were the two big tracks for me. Man, what was with the production on some of this stuff? I mean, even a straight up rocker like "Jealous" has this crazy smooth sheen on it that sadly didn't age too well. It makes me think of The Cult's "Electric" album and how comparatively raw it was for the time. Subsequently I can still listen to "Aprodisiac Jacket" without cringing, while "Jealous" seems kinda silly. You know what I mean?

At 11:59 AM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

yeah that riff on Jealous is great..and you feel like you are in for a real "rock" record but it then sort of slowly deflates the rest of the time. I love "desire" too. Some great stuff they had for sure.

Good call on the cult. I am torn on which of their cds to review. Mostly because the idea is to review cds I don't listen to very often, so "Ceremony" would be a strong choice for the Cult, but man that record I just never listen falls perfectly in to the idea of this blog...Love is still my favorite of theirs.

At 1:00 AM, Blogger Really Great Stuff said...

Incredible CD, I still listen to this every once in a while. Love the whole thing. Doesn't remind me at all of the Cult. The Cult blow.


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