First, some clarification. The Gene Loves Jezebel discussed here is the iteration of the band fronted by Jay Aston. After twin brother Michael left the band in 1989, Jay carried on, releasing what would be the band’s biggest American hit, “Jealous,” taken from their hard rock crossover album, Kiss of Life. Jay would release two more albums as Gene Loves Jezebel, with Michael retaining the name after 1998’s VII, recording and releasing several albums as Gene Loves Jezebel. But last year, Jay decided to reform his own iteration of the band–after being granted legal rights to the name in England–and set about recording their first album of new material in twenty years, Dance Underwater. Though the band’s goth edges have softened–or perhaps the times changed to where it’s not such a big deal sound-wise–Dance Underwater finds Jay doing what he does best–bluesy, dark hard-rock infused with his distinctive voice. The highlight is “Flying (The Beautiful Blue),” which finds Aston and company toying with a gentle, haunting atmosphere and some downright gorgeous singing; he’s not lost his touch for mellow spookiness, and it’s a welcome return to form on an album that’s full of returns to form.
Dance Underwater is available now from Westworld Recordings.