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Genesis - Calling All Stations CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.50 | 925 ratings

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3 stars This, the final release from Genesis (so far, at least it seems), will perhaps remain the most divisive album in the bands' lengthy career. In case anyone is unfamiliar with the controversy, Calling All Stations is the album where Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford carried on as Genesis without it's longtime vocalist/drummer Phil Collins (who had departed the band in the mid-90's). Phil Collins had become such an iconic figure within the band that replacing him would seem an impossible task. The solution? Try something completely different...

Enter Ray Wilson, a singer whose style and range is closer to original Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel without being an obvious sound-a-like choice. As tiresome as I had become of Genesis' songwriting direction from the pleasant, if unmemorable, We Can't Dance, I still had my doubts about shifts in the songwriting team and anyone stepping into Collin's lead vocalist role. Wilson's voice isn't as versatile as Collins, it's more restrained. Even so, his performance on CAS serves the music just fine.

I've heard some claim that CAS is a return to the bands' progressive roots. I don't find that claim to be accurate. To my ears it's more like a darker, moodier version of a Genesis 80's record (and that's not meant as an insult). Admittedly, when I first heard CAS a few months ago (as part of the 1983-1998 Box Set 5CD/5DVD), I wasn't impressed. It sat on the shelf for a few weeks, until curiosity pushed me towards giving the material another chance. Then, with a couple more spins, it all started to come together for me.

This album is dominated by ballads, conveying a variety of moods that are sometimes sweet ("If That's What You Need"), desperate ("Shipwrecked"), or mournful ("Uncertain Weather"). The title-track is the clear standout for this album; Mike's slicing guitar riffs brush up against Tony's icy keyboard sounds to set an ominous backdrop for Wilson's impassioned vocal performance. Also not to be overlooked is the fantastic drum work of Nick D'Virgilio and Nir Zidkyahu. Listen to the great drum work on the intro for "The Dividing Line", it holds up to any percussion work Collins recorded with the band.

As with the rest of Genesis's discography CAS is remastered with improved sound (although being just released a little over 10 years ago it probably needed the boost the least). On the DVD disc are excellent promotional videos, concert performances, and interviews. Unfortunately, the one item that should be here that isn't are the complete B-sides from this album, of which there were many. Those tracks are only on the bonus disc of the above-mentioned box set, and even there the collection is incomplete.

First impressions are important, and those without patience were probably quick to dismiss the new Genesis without giving the material time to really sink in.

(text copied from my Amazon review)

catfood03 | 3/5 |


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