Around nine months ago, there was a very well-written and very well-received ICA contribution from Dave Glickmann. The band he looked at was Gene and in among his many fine words he said:-

Quite simply, Gene’s masterpiece – several band members not named Martin have called this the best song they wrote and I find no reason to disagree. If I were told I could only ever listen to one Gene song for the rest of my life, this would be the one.

He was referring to the song Where Are They Now? which had appeared on the album Drawn To The Deep End in February 1997.

mp3 : Gene – Where Are They Now?

It was a few weeks back that I spotted someone selling off CD1 of this particular single but given that I already had a copy from its inclusion on the ‘best of’ compilation I wasn’t that bothered about it….until I noticed that one of the two other tracks was a cover of a song I’m rather fond of…and I was intrigued to see how Gene had tackled it.

The song in question was Nightswimming, the piano ballad by R.E.M. and I was quite prepared for it to be a faithful interpretation that wouldn’t add all that much. But of course, Martin Rossiter is a quite different singer in style from Michael Stipe…..and his delivery together with the little acoustic guitar flourishes are more than enough to make this worth having:-

mp3 : Gene – Nightswimming

As for the third track, it’s one of those songs that I feel had a great deal of potential but that the band somehow hadn’t managed to nail down a finished version – should it be a ballad or should it rock out? In the end, thanks to a couple of tempo changes it does both but I can’t help thinking that they should have held onto it a bit longer and taken it one way or the other….

Dave however, has a quite different view and he felt it was more than worthy of inclusion in his splendid ICA:-

Whether intentional or not, Gene turned out to be quite a good B-side band. Almost everything on their first five singles ranged from solid to spectacular, which explains why the To See Lights compilation is a worthy listen. All Night has to be better than three quarters of the songs on Revelations. And, let’s not forget Drawn To The Deep End, the title track that wasn’t included on the album of the same name.

For me, however, the best of them all is Cast Out In The Seventies. If there really wasn’t any way to find a place for this on the second studio album, then surely it would have been a deserving non-album single. (Oh right, the press would have accused them of emulating The Smiths again!)

mp3 : Gene – Cast Out In The Seventies



  1. I never have this at the top of my ‘Fave Gene Songs’ list* but find myself singing it (very badly) with gusto whenever I hear it. The middle bit where Martin wails “Nooooooooooooooo…..” gets me every time.

    And yes, as a huge REM fan, the version of Nightswimming is more than passable, though I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking they could have done a bit more with it.

    (*I don’t actually have such a list, but you get the picture…)

  2. This is a colossal track, though personally I think I Can’t Help Myself runs its close on the “Gene’s masterpiece” front, especially the piano-led version.

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