Having recently picked up a copy of Mystery Man, the lead single from Thee Jenerators debut LP, I thought I’d take a look back at the album but found my original review was no longer available on the BBC Guernsey website. So here is a slightly updated and revised version of that review (originally published in August 2006).
The debut full length release by Thee Jenerators, released through Twist Records in 2003, does many things, but the most important one that manages to capture something of the band’s formidable live energy on disc.
As soon as I put Jenerator X into my stereo I knew I was in for something a bit different, looking at the case it says there are 10 tracks, but the display said it was only 18 minutes long, ‘surely this couldn’t be right?’ I thought.
Having now listened to the album I know it was right and 18 minutes was the perfect length for this set of songs.
Blasting through 10 tracks in a way I didn’t think possible Thee Jenerators prove that speed of sound does not always mean thrashing through half-formed ideas like some lesser punk bands would, as here they present fully formed tunes in spaces no longer than 2 and half minutes. And they seem to prove that less speed can equal more pace.
Starting out with a minute of storming mod-ish rock ‘n’ roll in Dirty Water the four-piece continue in a similar vein throughout, defying any specific genre definition by constantly modulating through eras and genres with ease. At times they sound like they fell out of the 1960s while at other times flirting with mid 90’s guitar acts (and falling into any number of styles in between).
The band’s sound is constantly underpinned by a fuzzy, rumbling, bass line from Steve Lynch (now of The Electric Shakes) that holds down every track on the album.
This is augmented by the powerhouse drums of Stuart ‘Ozzy’ Austin, the over driven guitar of Matt Stephen and the howling vocals of Mark Le Gallez to produce a sound that doesn’t come from the world of solos and posing but from the down and dirty garage rock scene providing a united sound of a truly together band who know what they’re doing and why.
After listening to the record all I wanted to do was dance that leads me to believe that this disc captures the bands live energy, as its rare that feeling truly over takes listening to a CD through headphones.
Highlights on the album come in the form of singles Fight The Power and Mystery Man (featuring a familiar sounding voice credited to ‘Blind Jack Lazarus’) along with guaranteed dancefloor filler Shakin’ Shake. These three songs also serve to highlight the diversity of themes in Le Gallez’s songwriting which ranges from the political to the personal to celebratory but all in his own inimitable style.
As a debut ‘full-length’ release, or any release, this is an excellent example of quality song writing, musicianship and most importantly heart and soul, and looking back on it now set up exactly what was to come as the band expanded and evolved onwards.