Like [a]Texas[/a] and [a]Everything But The Girl[/a] before them, this is a desperate attempt to rescue a once-promising career with a Prada makeover and a [B]Jurgen Teller[/B] photoshoot...

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London WC1 Embassy Rooms

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London WC1 Embassy Rooms

Fitter? Happier? More productive? This is [a]Geneva[/a]’s first date in two years, and they certainly take to the stage with comfortable aplomb. Always a delicate creature, far too flimsy and brittle for the swank of Britpop and its boorish hangover, they were blessed and cursed with a voice – Andrew Montgomery‘s injured-bird swoon – that just wasn’t built to take the pace. It finally failed him on their last tour.

Back and mended again, though, they seem to have acquired a studied attitude, as if they are following a nonexistent camera or singing into their bathroom mirror. More likely though they’re trying to disguise the fact that they’ve lost the signal in that wilderness and are, well, a little ashamed of their new songs.

The highly engineered new single, ‘Dollars In The Heavens’, sounds like a new car engine, whirring away efficiently on unleaded without ever wanting to make a noise. It gets worse with ‘Faintest Tremor In The Weakest Heart’, which is insipid Dawson’s Creek schmaltz. Like Texas and Everything But The Girl before them, this is a desperate attempt to rescue a once-promising career with a Prada makeover and a Jurgen Teller photoshoot.

There’s still a rush of hope and joy when they do ‘Tranquilizer’ and ‘No One Speaks’, but that was then and this is now. It’s sad and uncomfortable watching this fragile band expire like butterflies in the killing jar. All apologies, but in the great and noble tradition of this profession, the early stuff was best.