Gen and the Degenerates

  • Date: Sat 1st June 2024
  • Doors Open: 7:00 pm
  • Supported By: TBC
  • On Sale: Tickets Open

Ever since Genevieve Glynn-Reeves was a child, she had an overwhelming awareness of how difficult it is to just be a human. There’s infinite possibility, after all, in this life for disaster, tragedy and misfortune. Switch on the news, and it’s all there in front of you – war, crime, climate change, economic upheaval, more than enough to make you think that to be alive is to constantly struggle.
What do you do, then, when it feels like the world is crumbling around you? For Gen and the Degenerates, the answer is to have fun. “I don’t want to shy away from the darkness of being a human,” explains Gen (whose pronouns are she/they). “But by that merit, I don’t want to be fully consumed by it and forget to have fun and be silly and make light of it. I think it’s really important to have these difficult conversations with a sense of lightness and humour.”
“A lot of people do need that spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down,” adds guitarist Sean Healand-Sloan (pronouns he/they). “I think a lot of the best art comes from that line of humour and pathos and darkness and colour all at the same time. If we were to summarise the album in a couple of words, it would be ‘worried fun’.”
Sonically, their debut album draws from the sounds of New York punk and post-punk – think Patti Smith, LCD Soundsystem and Sonic Youth. “The key with them all is that they can be obtuse and artsy or whatever, but they’re not afraid to just write a pop song,” Sean reasons. The record has its eyes open and its tongue sticking out, bursting with witty takes on the messiness of twenty-something life in a system stacked against you. There’re songs about the absurdity of online discourse (‘That’s Enough Internet for One Day’), pretentious trend-chasing (‘Post-Cool’), the desire for a simple, stable domestic life (‘All Figured Out’) and refusing to subscribe to a social and political agenda that tries to restrict fun (‘Anti-Fun Propaganda’).
Meanwhile, ‘Girls’ celebrates the quirks girls have with a queer slant: “It started with frustration. You see it so much, men being like, ‘I hate it when girls do this, I hate it when girls do that’,” says Gen. “I think men are socialised to dislike women, and that’s such a funny concept considering they’re also supposed to fall in love with them and have families with them’.
The softly theatrical six-and-a-half minute closer ‘Jude’ brings the album to an emotional end, a tribute to Gen’s late aunt that reworks the famous opening line of The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’. “She didn’t like that song, because people would always sing it to her at school every time she walked down a corridor,” they recall. “I wanted the first half to [consist of] remembering and talking to her, and the second half to be that point in grief where you can start to celebrate. That’s the last line – ‘I don’t know what happens when we die/But I’m glad that for a while we were alive at the same time’.”
With a debut like theirs, full of personality, witty observations, and frenetic riffs, it’s clear that now is Gen and the Degenerates’ time.

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