Gene caught my attention with their single For The Dead one teenage evening, which is very likely to be the legendary Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley Evening Session on Radio 1 back in the mid-90s. It was a time when I was still forming my full plethora of music loves, and as I already had a penchant for a distinct singing voice, plus loved the likes of The Smiths, Pulp, The Divine Comedy and any indie band who could tell intimate stories, so they were immediately on my radar of intrigue.
Yours for the Taking (The Best Of) is a spanking all-new double blue vinyl release, that’s 180g as only the best should be, from Demon Records and offers a marvellous amalgamation of the band’s finest songs including the likes of Sleep Well Tonight, For The Dead, Olympian, As Good As It Gets, Fighting Fit, We Could Be Kings, Where Are They Now? and Fill Her Up. In fact, it hosts ten Top 40 hits alongside a total track-listing of 22 songs, all of which bring their individual atmospherics to the home arena.
Yours for the Taking also celebrates a staggering 25 years since their debut album ‘Olympian‘, and I say that because it doesn’t feel that long ago. One of the things I’ve been most impressed about with Demon Music and their releases is the thought and design that goes into everything they put out there. While they cover a host of genres, this collection shows us again about actual thought and time involved, gone are the days of collections for the sake of it, we can hope. While I believe the bigger set (see below) has the sleeve notes from music journalist Keith Cameron, and that would have been nice to read (correct me if I’m wrong on this one), there’s still a healthy dose of nostalgia on the album sleeves.
Both vinyl sleeves are covered in images, album covers and old gig tickets, which gives this the proper feeling you might recall. Those details might seem like a small thing but they’re unique to any fan, and I found myself wondering if my old gig tickets were lingering in a box somewhere, we might never know but I do know they were formative times.
And what about the music and how it sounds, you cry? Well, Gene‘s Martin Rossiter, Steve Mason, Kevin Miles and Matt James can be very proud of this collection of classics. In fact, their range of songs is so impressive, it often feels like they’re a little undervalued in the wider scheme, but when the fans know – as they do with Gene – and the fact this release has come around, there’s still a lot of admiration in the air and it’s sounding as good as ever.
While this is a grand, affordable set at £26.99, if you’ve got more cash spare (even right now), I have to recommend Gene: The Albums which is an 8LP Exclusive Signed version. While that might be out of my price range, just take a gander if you’re considering it and, to be frank, I wouldn’t blame you at all.
However, if you’re just as content picking up an effortlessly sharp, measured and exciting collection of some of their finest work, then everything you need is right here.