It says a lot about CackBlabbath’s love of new bands, that two of my most anticipated recent releases are from names who have been around for longer than most people on the planet have been alive. It’s always good to see that the veterans can still deliver so the double whammy of Danzig and this, the new one from veteran goths Gene Loves Jezebel, had me reaching for the eyeliner and hairspray, before remembering I had just cut all my hair off.
The most Gene Loves Jezebel-ey thing I’ve heard of late was the awesome “Everything Is Closer To Being Over” by James Stevenson (not surprising considering his C.V.) and we were psyched when it was announced that Jay Aston’s version of the band had signed to Westworld and are releasing Dance Underwater, their first album in 14 years, this June.
Which made this month’s arrival of a reissue of 1993’s Heavenly Bodies via the new label a bit of a welcome surprise. Although personally I’d not have it at the top of the GLB back catalogue tree, it does provide a chance for the uninitiated to do their homework ahead of the new release.
Heavenly Bodies dates back to the days when the Aston siblings were in and out of court over the rights to the name. All that stuff has long since been sorted out and since then both strands of the band have coexisted more or less harmoniously. If you’re a fan of what was loosely called Goth back in the day then Gene Loves Jezebel will be someone you already know well. There’s something comforting about reacquainting yourself with an old friend, and from the moment Ryan Stevenson’s signature jangles into view we’re on warmly familiar ground. Jay’s vocals convey their soft angst as the band further explore their familiar themes of angst, love and loss.
If there’s a downside to Heavenly Bodies, well that’s just that it’s not Promise or Discover, both of which are absolute essentials for any fan of the genre. That was my impression of it waaay back then, and it still holds true today although this is definitely an album that has aged better than most, with stand out tracks like Josephina and Break The Chain sounding as fresh now as they did all those years ago. Heavenly Bodies may be 24 years old but it provides a reminder of just how important GLJ were in the scene, and it serves as the musical missing link between the late 80s and today.
Certainly sets the scene nicely for the new one.
Here’s hoping for some UK dates as part of the band’s trip to Europe with fellow goth survivors The Mission. If not a return trip to Leipzig for Wave Gotik Treffen could be on the cards.