July 17, 1995 12:00 PM


Following in the lofty footsteps of ’80s postpunkers the Smiths, Gene is England’s latest Next Big Thing to feature wham-glam guitars and a fey front man with a warbly twang. The band may be possessed by the same somber spirit as the Smiths, but they’re not copycats. Unlike Morrissey, leader of the defunct Smiths, who groaned laments like “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” with disarming candor, Gene’s vocalist Martin Rossiter hams it up, pouring on the irony. And while the Smiths rocked with a punky spontaneity, Olympian crunchers like “Left-Handed” and “To the City” are lush, expansive and—thanks to Rossiter—deliciously campy. (Polydor)

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