erasing clouds

Eugene Kelly, Man Alive

reviewed by anna battista

Many years have passed since The Vaselines, one of the most promising bands of the late '80s, released their singles "Son Of A Gun" and "Dying For It". Many years have passed since they split up, leaving their legacy in their hands of Nirvana, who covered quite a few Vaselines' tracks. During these years, Eugene Kelly, one of the two founder members of the band, resurfaced with different bands named Captain America and Eugenius, apart from occasionally collaborating with other Scottish bands, such as Teenage Fanclub (a collaboration which produced the short-lived band Astro Chimp). Kelly disappeared again in the mid-'90s from the music scene, releasing nothing till last year when an EP released by Geographic, The Pastels' label, finally made his fans happy. There is actually more good news for Kelly's fans: indeed, Eugene's new album is out now. Including 13 tracks plus 3 bonus tracks, Man Alive is an absolutely smashing album.

The album contains all the songs included on last years' EP, "Older Faster" and its B-sides, "The Healing Power of Firewalking", "I Done Something Wrong" and "Blessed and Misplaced". Standing between rock and pop, with a sort of Teenage Fanclub-bish halo surrounding it, the album contains gems such as "I'm Done With Drugs", the first track, a sort of statement about stopping listening to noisy bands like Sonic Youth, giving up bad habits like smoking and drinking, and mending one's own ways; "Ride The Dream Comet", a track with a psychedelic '60s feeling about it; "Noise and Smoky Breath", an epic song; and "Dear John", in which Eugene invokes a natural plague on the Starbucks café that opened in Glasgow's West End, replacing a quite famous independent bookshop-cum-record-shop, a well-known hang out for local indie bands. The Japanese import of the album is a must for fans since it includes Kelly's bio in Japanese and the lyrics for all the tracks, both in Japanese and English.

There are only a few musicians who can grow up and mature with their music, without being boring and redundant. Eugene Kelly is one of them. Bless him.

{P-Vine Records: If you can't find the record, visit the record shop Monorail, they'll be able to find it for you.}

Issue 21, March 2004

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