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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover

ABACAB

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.55 | 876 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

7headedchicken
5 stars "When they do it/you're never there... When you wake in the morning/wake and find you're covered in cellophane/There's a hole in there somewhere"... if you can identify with the lyrics of Abacab very closely then someone has either put a spell on you or really has it in for you! Seriously, I hear a lot of people say that they don't understand what this song is about, but if you listen to the words it really sounds like a song to raise awareness that there is something going on, as in something being done to us inconspicuously that maybe we should take a closer look at. Things are not always what they appear to be on the surface. Like this album. Upon first listen it may seem very simplistic compared to what they had been producing previously, but it's actually a very sophisitcated artistic statement. There are some very subtle things they did with the lyrics and production, like the riddle at the end of "Lurker" that was supposed to lead into "Submarine", a track that was left off the album, but more on that later. They supposedly wanted to change everything that they were doing when they recorded this, and in that they succeded. The synths are sharper, (more saw wavey than moogy), the drums have gated reverb on them, and the guitars are processed into that dimension that radioactive honeyfrogs live in. (Check "Man On the Corner" for an example of one of these guitar sounds.) The songwriting for the most part is still progressive, just that there aren't any more extended solos, save the excellent ones at the end of the title track. Don't I just love that first crashing note at the beggining that tunes down for a split second like someone just accidentally put their hand (or something else) on the record? Anyway, the most traditionally progressive number here is Tony Banks' "Me and Sarah Jane", a song that takes his suspected songwriting style and insterperses many others with it like ska, power pop, and dreamy keyboard psychedelia. It's a weird trip that may be hard to take in at first, but once familiar with the track, very satisfying. "Keep It Dark" is another slow catcher-on-er, unless you're good at catching on to unusual songs like this quickly. I like the utopian lyrics as well as the heavily processed keyboards and falsetto vocals on the chorus, or maybe B-part, more appropriately. They're still doing odd-times here, too, so don't try to say they just reverted to straight beats yet. Speaking of straight beats, they really put a lot of syncopation into a song that's in 4, "No Reply At All." The way the horns, keyboard, and bass all fit together form a very cool mathematical picture in the mind, enveloping a nice piano and vocal interlude that could have been a Phil Collins solo hit on it's own. "Dodo/Lurker" is probably the weirdest track, well besides the very art- wave "Who Dunnit?", and both of these songs have a very strong, crashing drum sound that goes well with those loud saw waves. "Dodo" is packed with some very strange, thought provoking, obscure lines. The last two tracks took a while to grow on me, and while I appreciate them very much now, they're nothing compared to "Man On the Corner", where Phil darkly ruminates over a simple keyboard progression (another great keyboard tone) and one of the catchiest drum machine patters out there. Supposedly, they were considering making Abacab a double, and you can hear a lot of the songs that were left off of it on the various box sets out there - they are all very good! If that would have been then case, the album would have had more of a resemblance to Duke in some ways, but either way, double or single album, I can't not give Abacab 5 stars.
7headedchicken | 5/5 |

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