Sam Eastgate took some time off after Inji, his first album as LA Priest was released in 2015. Holiday in the Maldives? find-yourself retreat in Nepal? Drag racing school in South Carolina?
No, in the time off the former Late of The Pier singer built himself a drum machine from scratch, the kind of nerdy, autodidactic project that takes up months turning into years and only feels over when it’s really over. Naming it GENE – the schematics are also available if you fancy having at making a version of your own – Eastgate used it’s inevitable non-production line quirks as the basis for the record of the same name, one on which he straddles avant-garde pop, skewed R&B and other more esoteric side alleys.
Remarkably, Late of The Pier remain a booming cult concern, their only eclectic but brilliant release Fantasy Black Channel’s reputation growing year on year, but there’s absolutely no repeat of that kaleidoscopic formula despite the reunion with producer Erol Alkan. Instead Eastgate loosely follows Metronomy at their most fringe (What Moves) and on the likes of Sudden Thing produces some workable if introvert programmed melancholy. Man and machine are as one here, but GENE lacks a little resonance and emotion as a result.
Read the full review here.