"We've sent it overseas and had a pretty good response," says Nolan, "but with the record companies here, we weren't really surprised at their reaction 'cos for me, this album is a real grower... it needs a few listens. "The aim of the album was to be able to put it on from start to finish", continues Nolan, "like it was made so you could turn it up loud and really focus on it or just have it in the background... I suppose we found in the past, just having full band songs back to back it was pretty hard to set and maintain a mood.. you need these breaks, and like we're so happy with it the way it came together."
And happy they ought to be. Together with Dominic Cutcliffe on drums and Daniel Howard on rhythm guitar and keys, the brothers Angell have delivered something quite incredible. Something good enough to rival the best acoustic bands in the UK at the moment... songs as good as Electric Soft Parade and harmonies as good as Turin Brakes. Community radio in Melbourne have gotten behind them, but it's the national youth network that's missing in the equation. Songs like 'Time is Never Wrong', 'I Always Loved You', 'Zero', even the one and a half minute 'I Know You Know' would be prime for Triple J ears, but alas, until The Genes get themselves a manager and a record deal, perhaps in that order, then only the privileged few will get to hear them. "The old word of mouth thing is working for us though... like at gigs the records sell well but it'd just be great if someone picked it up and gave it a larger release," says the mild mannered songwriter/producer.
As far as the songwriting goes, much of the responsibility rests on Nolan's shoulders, but Morgan, so it seems is just as vital to the creative flow. "Morgan is kind of like the barometer of taste... like we have this thing going on where if he doesn't like a song that's a good sign for me 'cos if he hates it I know it must be good, so I'll persevere with it and change things until a week later he says "l love it," says Nolan, excercising the reverse psychology strategy for gaining sibling approval.
"But yeah, he helps shape the song and helps with the harmonies and stuff and like the hold band these days in on fire, " boasts a proud Nolan. "Dominic's drumming is superb and he's just like a dream drummer for us.. we don't have to tell him anything he just does it every time.. and with Daniel, we've never been better live.. there's this fantastic chemistry between us right now.. we're in really good shape, and a lot of our gigs we've just been playing all night."
Album opener Single Tear begins with harmonica and chugs along at a steady pace courtesy of acoustic guitar and Nolan Angell's relaxed vocals.
But how does that hold up in the age of modern technology, expensive producers and lush instrumentation? Honest lyrics, gorgeous harmonies, and catchy hooks is the answer, and The Genes have it all.
Highlight of the album is I Always Loved You, a tune that will have
If there must be a criticism of this record it's the short
That aside, The First Person To Wear Black is a fantastic album, free from the pretension and production that surrounds so much of today's contemporary releases. If it's quality songwriting you're after then look no further than The Genes.
Demo of the Week from Half a Cow Records
The Genes are four Queensland blokes. They sent us a demo cd of 17 tracks, which I revolted against at first, inwardly refusing to listen to it all, but then...well, I listened to it a couple of times, admittedly while cooking dinner.
At first, I didn't really know why I liked it. Was it the vocals? Definitely - they have a relaxed, intimate quality, with really delicate phrasing. They sound like they're coming out of a person whom I think I'd like, which, on the most fundamental level, could be what we look for in vocals. Then I realised that their plain, simple electric guitar and drum sounds were satisfying my present (ever-present) hunger for classic old-time rock 'n' roll. I think I might even be coming around to blues, after a decade of dismissing it as mannish self-indulgence. Then, there's the songs, which are subtle (i.e. not trumpeting out their hooks, so at first you don't notice them, then on 3rd listen you think - I know this song!) and well-crafted, arranged just the way I like them (i.e. stopping before I start to twiddle my thumbs). I can almost imagine that they were a power pop band who have stripped their music back to its roots over the years...well, I might be wrong about the nature of their origins, but they do have the confident, laid-back originality of a band who has evolved. Maybe their je-ne-sais-quoi has something to do with the fact that they are not pushing too hard - so the listener is drawn in. Oh, and on their bio, I thought they wrote "You may find it a bit of a groover," which mystified me for a while...can people really dance to this? Then I reread it - "a bit of a grower" - now I understand! A grower, it sure is. --LL
FILE UNDER 'BEST KEPT SECRET NO LONGER'... [by dave 'didi' dickens]
Pardon the pun, but God its exciting discovering a new band that hits you like a bomb!
Brisbane Indie band 'The Genes' graced Melbourne recently with somesparkling performances [5 in all,including a irresistably spirited gig on Saturday/6th Oct. at the Dan O'Connell]. I stumbled across this 20-something 4 piece playing a passionate live to air set on 3RRR FM andwas hooked by the seamless, refreshing way they approached their sound, and immediately followed my ears to multiple shows.Neither tiresome post-power pop proselytizers[the turgid 'Blank' 182] or post-modern fashion concious musak [I'm pointing the bone 3JJJ], The Genes are certainly a band to follow. Whatever IT is, they clearly have 'it' in aces...
Brothers Nolan Angell[haunting lead vocal/harp/electric and acoustic guitar], and Morgan Angell[bass], along with Spanny [acoustic guitar/keyboard] and Dom Cutliffe [yippee!cow-hide drums] effortlessly and unpretensiously channel the spirit of bands as diverse as Big Star, Violent Femmes, early Church, The Clouds, The Go Betweens, Things of Stone and Wood [and make no apologies, classic mid-period Beatles/Dylan], yet somehow manage not to sound aggravatingly retro. The Genes are not odious, heart on the sleeve revionists at all, but a fresh, well informed, fine rocking unit that could well prove to be the next overnite sensation, though,in fact, they have been developing from tender teendom since 1992! The swag of memorable tunes The Genes possess is truly extraordinary....somewhere toward 300 so i was told!
Tunes such as the curiously compelling 'Nothing Lasts Forever' [a song about the theory of infinite uncertainty] and the acoustically driven single 'I Know'[about a visit to the sacred sites of ernest hemingway/ jim morrison/and john lennon] grow on you with their rapidfire groove and clear as a bell harmonies. Articulate, catchy songs that are as
Having toured with such illumni as Henry Rollins,The Cruel Sea, Ed Keupper, The Oils, and Custard, The Genes will inevitably find the break they most surely deserve. They are clearly just too damn talented not to eventually make waves.The Genes are returning to Melbourne in January next year . So don't say i didn't give you fair warning....and remember, life is way too short for regrets.
The Genes Reviewed - Judith Wright Centre: 12.11.05
It's a full house and couples tï¿½te-ï¿½-tï¿½te politely amidst the intimate, candlelit ambience. The Genes are duetting tonight, and kick off with a rousing rendition of "Hey Julie". Against a simple movie screen backdrop bathed in indigo, their blend of thumping kick drum, strumming acoustic guitar and harmonica provoke much foot tapping. The driving rhythm of "I Wish We Were Drinking Some Whiskey" is followed by a harmonious cover of Bob Dylan's "Blind Willie McTell". Nolan Angell offers plenty of insight into the inspiration behind his songs. Indeed, we learn the atmospheric "I'll Never Know" is an observational piece about a couple breaking up. It's clear The Genes are serious heart-on-sleeve romantics, as well as lyrical anthropologists.
MEGAN YARROW - timeoff.com.au