Happy 25th Birthday Immigrant.

Of Gene Loves Jezebel's second album, Ned Raggett has this to say: 

(Jay and Michael Aston) had the advantage of both a stabilizing band lineup (Rizzo had joined on bass) and one of the best producers around, John Leckie. The English mastermind's sharp ear for bringing bands up to newer levels proved the case here, slightly streamlining the wild sound of Promise while sacrificing none of Gene Loves Jezebel's edgy weirdness. 

The Astons themselves whipped up a series of more focused rockers, letting the hooks show through a bit more strongly. The opening "Always a Flame" conclusively demonstrates how well the new combination worked. Buried drums, echoed guitar, and soft cries suddenly transform into a blasting romance number; the rhythm section work easily rivals that of any other early-'80s post-punkers, while the almost mandolin-like arrangement on the chorus is a lovely touch. 

Add in the Astons' passionate lyrics to a missing love and the glammy rush of the song, and Immigrant is off and running. Like Promise, variety is part of the album's appeal, ranging from the slow punch and chanting of "Stephen" to the giddy blasts of "Worth Waiting For" (with an intentionally hilarious spoken word break in the middle) and "Cow," Immigrant's underrated highlight. 

Photo: The Waist High Collection