Gene Loves Jezebel – The House Of Dolls (1987)

Gene Loves Jezebel (GLJ) are a British rock band formed in the early 1980s by identical twin brothers Jay Aston (born John Aston) and Michael.
The name of the band is a reference to the rock musician Gene Vincent and his song “Jezebel“.
Tagged by most fans as their favorite Gene Loves Jezebel album, with its fabulous sonics, punchy rhythms, soaring guitars, and bright and brash pop melodies, this is also the record responsible for sundering the band. In one fell swoop, producer Peter Walsh turned GLJ from a band whose brilliance lay in their ability to blend rock and goth into something truly unique, into a pop/rock monster. The group itself never sounded better. The rhythm section is exceptionally tight and powers the songs like a metronome. James Stevenson‘s guitar literally shines, glimmers, glitters, and swoops through the grooves.
It’s no surprise then that the album contained a slew of songs that quickly became college/dance classics.
The infectious “The Motion of Love”; the sweeping lushness of “Gorgeous,” guaranteed to hook the listener at first listen; the pulsating, yearning paranoia of “Suspicion”; and the driving “Twenty Killer Hurts,” which turned up in a Miami Vice episode, were classic GLJ‘s songs given an American sheen. What were missing were the gothic shadows, darkwave jangle, and Celtic undertones that once enmeshed the band’s sound. The Jezzies themselves hated The House of Dolls, not the songs themselves, but the slick production Walsh covered them in. Co-vocalist Michael Aston hated it most of all, and was frustrated by the group’s growing pop affiliation.
He quit the band in the middle of recording, and appears on only two tracks, “Message” and “Up There,” the album’s broodier tracks. Although he later returned, this was to be his last recording with the band. Of course, the album turned out to be GLJ‘s most successful, abetted by the production, and aided by Stevenson‘s full-on arena-esque guitar. It’s hard to believe this was the same band that gave the world Promise and Immigrant, and in a way it wasn’t.

Tracklist

1.  Gorgeous – 3:43
2.  The Motion Of Love – 3:49 (Producer – Jimmy Iovine)
3.  Set Me Free – 3:29
4.  Suspicion – 3:48)   (Producer – Jimmy Iovine) 
5.  Every Door – 4:34
6.  Twenty Killer Hurts – 3:31
7.  Treasure – 3:57
8.  Message – 3:49
9.  Drowning Crazy – 3:18
10.    Up There – 4:41

Credits

Notes
Released: 1987
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock
Length: 39:21

Label – Beggars Banquet Records

UB40 – TwentyFourSeven (2008)

TwentyFourSeven is the sixteenth studio album by UB40. It is the last UB40 album to feature the classic line-up with vocalist/guitarist Ali Campbell and keyboardist Mickey Virtue. In 2008 both of them departed from the band.
Remarkably holding together without a single lineup change ever since their debut in 1980, at the time of the release of this album in 2008, UB40 had suddenly lost two of their eight founding members. Singer Ali Campbell announced he was leaving in January and keyboardist Michael Virtue followed soon after. What exactly caused the split remained in dispute between the band and its ex-members, but there remains the fact that UB40 would now have to master this new situation. Coincidence or not, this album actually already gives various examples of what UB40 could sound like without their strikingly unique lead vocalist. Being the longest UB40 album ever (at 72 minutes length), it is nonetheless once again carried by Campbell‘s familiar style and sound. However, normal proceedings (as ever in a reggae style) are interrupted several times by a string of interspersed cover versions sung by guests (such as Maxi Preist and members of Arrested Development). Just as was the case with Ali Campbell‘s solo album Running Free (which was released in 2007 and was one reason that the band’s album release was put back until half a year later), the choice of covers is rather run of the mill and even substandard, compared to the quality of the new originals on both of those albums. The covers might be good for listeners just wanting to “party on,” but they can compete with the originals in neither elegance nor earnestness. The jarring thing is that this album finds UB40 returning to political themes much more decidedly than they had for quite some time, but the potential coherence of this album gets chopped up by the smattering of cover versions, as if coming from some entirely different compilation album of some sort. Still, on the plus side, there are new songs with strong hit potential, immediate appeal, and some sweet melodies. As for politics, even the cause of Gary “Tyler” (first sung about on the 1980 debut album) is revisited in “Rainbow Nation.”  The track “Rainbow Nation” refers to Gary Tyler once again, originally the subject of “Tyler”, the first song on their first album, “Signing Off“. The original saxophone part from “Tyler” is played over the closing bars of the track.Though not often so specific, topical conflicts such as those in Darfur and Gaza also get mentions in closing song “The Road.” Now, however, UB40 have their own conflict to resolve, and 2009 brought with it the decision to install Duncan Campbell, a brother of Ali and Robin, as new lead singer, already featured on this album on a version of the evergreen “It’s All in the Game.”

Full CD version

1. “End of War” – 4:42
2 .”Lost and Found”  (U.K Single.) – 4:37)
3. “Dance Until The Morning Light”  (with Maxi Priest ft. DJ Rapper Truth)  (U.K Single.) – 3:19
4. “This Is How It Is” – 3:58
5. “Rainbow Nation” – 6:12
6. “Here We Go Again” – 3:35
7. “I Shot the Sheriff”  (with Maxi Priest, Marvin Priest & DJ Beniton) – 4:06
8. “Oh America”  (extended version; with One Love & Rasta Don of Arrested Development) – 6:16
9. “Once Around” – 4:37
10 .”Slow Down” – 4:07
11. “I’ll Be Back (song)|I’ll Be Back”  (Lennon/McCartney) – 4:03
12 .”Instant Radical Change of Perception” – 3:45
13. “It’s All in the Game”  (with Duncan Campbell) – 3:25
14. “I’ll Be There” – 3:59
15. “Middle of the Night” – 3:36
16 .”Securing The Peace” – 3:37
17. “The Road” – 4:28

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: 9 June 2008
Genre: Reggae
Length: 1:12:13

Label – Edel Records