Album Review: Gen and the Degenerates – Anti-Fun Propaganda

Album Review: Gen and the Degenerates - Anti-Fun Propaganda
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

One of the great pleasures of reviewing records is the chance to encounter something you wouldn’t, in your day-to-day listening, normal be exposed to. I’d seen articles about Gen & The Degenerates in Hardbeat magazine, but had not had the opportunity to hear to them. Rich price covered the band when they played in Manchester a couple of years ago and raved about how good the show was, and I take that as being from a trusted source.

Feels strange then for me to be able to review Anti-Fun Propaganda as the band’s debut album. I wondered whether I’d find it too ‘right-on’ for me to honestly evaluate (I’m pale, stale and male and I’m okay with that).

In the end, though, there was nothing here but thirty-three minutes of some of the best and most catchy tunes you’ll hear this year. The bass player is having the time of Jay’s life across all ten songs, laying down a platform for the rest of the band to groove upon.

From the very beginning, with the Kids Wanna Dance, there’s the feeling that Gen and The Degenerates are deadly serious about having fun. For all the upbeat and danceable tune and sing-a-long chorus of the opener, it finds itself with an interesting – and far darker – lyrical message. Not since Roger Waters’ Amused to Death has the stark reality of humanity’s disregard for the approaching apocalypse been so melodically predicted.

Girls! comes complete with a stomping, neo-punk attitude, with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes vibes adding to the uber-cool Sixties feel; Famous mixes up all manner of stylings but is unstoppable in its beats, and BIG HIT SINGLE has the same punk aura as Wargasm or Cassyette.

Album Review: Gen and the Degenerates - Anti-Fun Propaganda

The closest Anti-Fun Propaganda comes to showing an overt political stance comes in the triptych of the title track, That’s Enough Internet for Today and All Figured Out. The first of which takes aim at the corruption of ideologies by corporations, who are too quick to jump on whatever they see as being the flavour of the month cause. As the lyric points out: “Someone must be selling something.”

That’s Enough Internet… addresses the pointlessness of arguments online, played with a slow and laconic progression, it takes aim at, and fires missiles against, those who slavishly follow celebrity culture, as though the objects of their adoration know, much less care, who these people are. Gen makes an apology for overly using the word ‘Dickhead’ as the track winds to a close. Not a problem, Gen, you fire away!

As a coda to this unofficial trilogy All Figured Out is a love letter to those who Gen sees as having managed to find a stability in their lives.

The trenchant observations of Post-Cool brim with an apathetic nihilism, contrary to the delicate acoustic beauty of Plan B (Interlude) with its rejection of the modern world in favour of a more simplistic time.

Bringing this short record to a close is the fantastic Jude’s Song. Don’t know how the band will take this, but its energy reminded me of Florence & The Machine, with Gen’s vocals soaring as a family member is honoured in music.

Genevieve Glynn-Reeves delivers a truly captivating vocal performance throughout this record, leading The Degenerates into the final days of humanity with a series of catchy and comforting tunes. Yet, like Cassandra of Troy, the dire warnings contained might well be overlooked.

I will be taking Rich’s advice and catching the band next time they’re in town, be damned that I might stand out like the proverbial sore thumb – it is, after all about everyone being welcome.

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