"EVERY recorded offering from The Genes has been an intimate document of the travels and travails, life and loves of Nolan Angell, who is surely one of the finest songwriters in this country. Here the Cabarita Beach trio soar to even greater heights with their subtle yet shimmering, sun-drenched and languid country-ish folk rock. There's nothing bombastic about their music: the hushed vocals, punchy guitar dusted with harmonica, the restrained drumming and guitar lines.

The track that comes closes to bombast is the bluesy Just Like Everyone Else, a rollicking riff on the magnetic draw of a simple life. the closer Deep in the Heart of Another Rat Race is a towering achievement, if a better song has been written in Australia this year I'd love to hear it.

Once you get on The Genes' wavelength they offer a richly rewarding ride.

This is a great record, probably their best yet.

The Genes are like that quiet, intelligent guy who doesn't say much but when he does speak, you just have to listen."

Pat Whyte - Courier Mail



Review by Marc Grimwade, The Scene, Brisbane, (www.sceneonline.com.au)
21 August 2002

Right era, wrong place. Case in point for brothers Morgan and Nolan Angell. With a couple of pals, they are The Genes and they're sitting on a most brilliant album, yet they're being ignored.

Talk to Nolan and he appears fairly unfazed by the whole shoppping-the-record around process. "The majors," he says, "didn't know how to market it and the independents probably gave it one listen and said it wasn't independent enough." It begs the question: Is there too much music around or the A&Rs in this country just batting way too conservatively?

The Genes

"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."

The Genes - "The First Person To Wear Black" **** 4 stars
(Review from Barfly Street Press)

After just one listen to The Genes' third full-length album, The First Person To Wear Black, it's strikingly obvious these guys know how to make good music. It's also pretty clear that between them they probably own hundreds of early 60's folk records and a hearty dose of American rockabilly. But don't worry, this isn't a country record. The music here is closer to Bob Dylan than Garth Brooks.

First Person to Wear Black - album cover

The First Person to Wear Black is available at www.thegenes.com

Album opener Single Tear begins with harmonica and chugs along at a steady pace courtesy of acoustic guitar and Nolan Angell's relaxed vocals.

That same mix is apparent for most of the album. With The Genes
there's nothing over complicated, nothing over produced or over ambitious - just 17 songs performed on acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and harmonica.

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.

You get the feeling that if The Genes had the financial backing of a
major label they'd sound a lot like Manchester outfit Doves (appearing soon at Byron Bay's Splendour In The Grass festival).

Highlight of the album is I Always Loved You, a tune that will have
you reaching for the repeat button before it's even run its course. Other songs to look out for include Time Is Never Wrong and Nothing Last Forever.

If there must be a criticism of this record it's the short
instrumental tracks that pop up every now and again. While their musicianship is to be admired, these interludes only serve to interrupt the natural flow of the record. Perhaps if they lasted longer they could be justified, but when these tracks run for under a minute it's just not worth it.

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
pure,timeless and organic as the blues, and a uplifting antedote to the plethora of stale guitar based music and worldwide bleakdom. The quieter tunes hinted at a soulful bittersweet melancholia that would make Brian Wilson proud.

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 [02]. 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 t�te-�-t�te 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