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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This album marked several changes for GENESIS:a) After Phil Collins had success with his first solo album, he became more confident as a musician, and his mates Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford appreciated his success. Maybe they said: "Hey, this man can write successful pop songs, and we are tired of Progressive music, so let`s try that "commercial pop music direction!" To say that they became Collins` backing musicians (as some reviewers wrote before me) is underrate their contributions to the band; b) I think that their U.S. label (Atlantic) had more influence than their U.K. label in their change of style: they also wanted "hits", not another "Prog album". In the 80s Atlantic was mainly a label more interested in hits; c) GENESIS recently have built their own recording studio, so they had more time to do what they wanted, which by 1981 was mainly pop music; d)If they wanted to change their musical direction, they needed a new recording engineer. So, David Hentschel was gone, and they called Hugh Padgham, a very good recording engineer who had worked with Peter Gabriel in his third self-titled solo album in 1980, with Phil Collins in his first solo album "Face Value",with YES in "Drama", with The Police and others. He continued working with Collins as soloist and with GENESIS, and he later became a co-producer of their albums. e)They needed a new image for the 80s, so they called new cover designers, who "modernized" and updated their image. I think that all these decisions were taken as a whole band. If Rutherford and Banks didn`t like to record pop music, they simply could have win Collins by 2 votes vs. 1. This album reflects all these changes. The recording of the album is more "clear" , as Padgham recorded the drums "at the front", with his own recording techniques which he used with The Police (that`s why Stewart Copeland`s drums sound very good, apart of being himself a very good drummer). But this album is still better than their "Genesis" album released in 1983. The song "abacab" has some good things despite being a simple song with a monotonous use of the bass pedals and distorted guitars. If Collins` had some influence from his solo career in this album, this influence is more clear in "No Reply at all", with the EWF horns. It has very good arrangements. "Me and Sarah Jane" is the best song of this album, very influenced by Reggae music, and with a bass guitar part which sometimes sounds like taken from a Disco music record. Banks uses his electric piano in this song and others, and "Me and Sarah Jane" sounds like a song originally composed for the "Duke" album. "Keep it dark" has good lyrics and good percussion arrangements. "Dodo/Lurker" are the most progressive songs in this album, with good drums and keyboards. "Who Dunnit?" sounds to me like a joke, really, and it is better than the offensive "Illegal Alien" from their next album. It has some strange synth sound effects and also some sound effects used for the drums sound at the end of the song. "Man on the corner" is Collins` solo contribution as songwriter. This song is similar to other songs from his first solo album, and it is not a bad song. Rutherford`s "Like it or not" has some influence from the "old Genesis", with arpeggio guitars and bass pedals, plus good drums and vocals by Collins. "Another Record" is a pop song, really. There were other songs recorded for this album but they were released in other formats and albums. I comment some of them, at least the songs that I have listened to. In the U.S. version of "Three Sides Live" they released 3 songs: "Paperlate", "You Might Recall" and "Me and Virgil" (these 3 were released in the U.K. in an E.P. called "3x3"). "Paperlate" is another song recorded with the EWF horns, and it is a good song with good arrangements. "You might recall" is another good pop song. "Me and Virgil" is an "exercise in storytelling" which is the less interesting song of these 3 songs for me. There were other songs recorded during the "abacab" sessions which were released as B sides of singles of the same period:" Naminanu", "Submarine", etc. All these additional songs (except "Me and Virgil", which Collins/Banks/Rutherford didn`t like anymore) are now available in the "Archive vol. 2" box set. In conclusion, for me the "abacab" album is still good in some places if I compare it to their "Genesis" album released in 1983.
Guillermo | 2/5 |


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